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Introduction of Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal and analysis of its heritage values

CAI, Jindong, PENG, Jing
Journal of hydro-environment research 2019 v.26 pp. 2-7
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, civil engineering, rivers, China, Yangtze River, Yellow River
The 1794-km-long Grand Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates back to the 5th century BCE, is the longest canal in the world and a vast waterway system in the eastern plain region of China. Starting at Beijing in the north, it passes through Tianjin and other four present-day provinces to the city of Hangzhou in the south, linking five of China’s major rivers, including the Yellow River and Yangtze River. This paper first makes a brief introduction of the general features of the canal, then categorizes the major engineering achievements of the canal into four aspects to highlight its heritage values and explain why the canal, the world’s largest and most extensive civil engineering project prior to the Industrial Revolution that is still in use today, is a world heritage site and a great project that has played an important role in ensuring the country’s economic prosperity and social stability.