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Celebrating a decade of world heritage status for the Grand Canal

chinadaily.com.cn| Updated : Jun 24, 2024


The Grand Canal winds through Jiaxing city. [Photo/jiaxingren.com]

A decade ago, on June 22, 2014, the Grand Canal was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. This ancient waterway, the longest and oldest artificial canal in the world, has played a crucial role in China's history, facilitating trade and unifying territories.

Jiaxing, one of the 27 cities involved in the heritage application, boasts a significant 110-kilometer stretch of the canal. This section includes key heritage sites like the Changhong Bridge and the Chang'an Sluice, showcasing ancient Chinese engineering excellence. The canal has historically nurtured Jiaxing, transforming it into a prosperous hub and a vital link between the north and south.

Even today, the Grand Canal continues to serve important transportation and water management functions. Over the past decade, Jiaxing has diligently protected the canal and explored new models for heritage preservation and utilization.

In 2021, Jiaxing's cultural and tourism bureau cataloged the canal's heritage elements, enhancing public awareness of canal culture. The city has also formed an alliance of ancient towns, linking 18 historic towns along the canal into a cohesive cultural network. This initiative aims to preserve the rich history and culture of the canal while fostering a nostalgic and poetic lifestyle for residents and visitors alike.