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Grand Canal rediscovered as tourism hotspot


The section of the Grand Canal near Liaocheng in Shandong Province was the primary watercourse for food supply delivery from the south to the north of the country during the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. Since 1999, about 30 archeological sites have been dug out along this approximately 20-kilometer-long waterway, and restored to their original appearances, thus creating a major tourist attraction in Liaocheng. In 2005, the city brought in tourism revenues of more than 2 billion yuan. At the southern tip of the Grand Canal, Hangzhou is striving to rebuild this ancient waterway into a major tourist highlight next to the already-renowned West Lake. The city government is planning to construct a substitute watercourse to take over the river transportation that is currently a major threat to the environment of the Grand Canal. At the other end of the Grand Canal, in Tongzhou district of Beijing, people are associating ancient Canal structures with Olympic Tourism. An old saying goes that when you can see Randeng Tower, you have arrived in Beijing at last. Randeng Tower, which marks the north end of the canal, is now a landmark of Tongzhou. The area around the Grand Canal in Tongzhou has been listed as one of the six Olympics-related scenic areas. The Grand Canal of China is the world's oldest and longest water canals. The building of the canal began in 486 BC during the Wu Dynasty. It was extended during the Qi Dynasty, and later by Emperor Yangdi of the Sui Dynasty during six years of intense construction from 605-610 AD.

The canal is 1,795 kilometers long with 24 locks and some 60 bridges.

(Source:CRIENGLISH. com, 2006-05-25)