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Home >> China City Guide >> Guangxi >> Guilin >> Lingqu Canal travel information and tour
 
 

Lingqu Canal

Lingqu Canal, Guilin travel China tour Guangxi toursChinese people's relationship with nature has always been intriguing and subtle. On one hand, they advocate man and nature live in harmony, and on the other hand, they challenge this philosophy by building the most incredible architectures such as Lingqu Canal and the Great Wall, for the sake of social stability and its citizens' well-being.

Built by Emperor Qin Shi Huang from218BC to 214BC, the over 2217-year-old Lingqu Canal is one of the most ancient canals on earth. Guo Moruo, one renowned contemporary literature master once exclaimed that it can rival the Great Wall. With genius design and layout, Lingqu Canal is honored as one of the Three Great Hydraulic Engineering Projects of the Qin Dynasty, just like Dujiangyan Irritation System in Sichuan and Zhengguo Cananl in Shangxi Province.

Over 2000 years ago, to subdue the Baiyue tribes in south China was the priority for Emperor Qin Shihuang, whose greatest contribution is a unified China, for the first time in history. However, the Wuling Mountain Range, a formidable natural barrier, has isolated Xiang River (one tributary of Yangtze River) from Lijiang River (one upstream of Pearl River). Shi Lu, the most talented architect at that time, accomplished this seemingly impossible task by taking advantage of the most favorable geological topography in Xing'an County where Xiang River and Lijiang River are only 1.5km away and is blocked by one hill no more than 500m high and 30m wide. Under the supervision of Shi Lu and three generals, 100,000 soldiers were dispatched to dig this canal. Four years' painstaking work turned out to be cheerful, but the cost was huge also, with 70,000 soldiers sacrificed their lives. Without Lingqu Canal, it was impossible for Emperor Qin Shi Huang to unify China. During Han dynasty (220BC-220AD), Lingqu Canal shouldered the responsibility again by aiding Emperor Han Wudi to pacify the unrest in south China. Through this canal, trade and cultural exchange between middle and south China prospered.

Lingqu Canal has undergone 23 large-scale restorations during the following dynasties. In Tang dynasty, 18 flash locks surfaced, while in Song, the number doubled. Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties rulers had attached great importance to this magic canal, thus its glory, though a little faded, has been preserved till nowadays. With the opening of Yuehan Railway and Xianggui Railway, people depend less and less on this canal, which resulted in its gradual abandonment. After the establishing of the Republic of China in 1949, large-scale restorations were done to revive this artery. By now, Lingqu Canal still plays a part in Guilin people's life by supplying fresh water to city dwellers and irrigate about 2700 hectare of agricultural lands.

With brilliant design which has endured the past two millennia's test, Lingqu Canal is nicknamed as the Magic Canal. Meandering its way 34km long, it falls into two sections: North Canal and South Canal and comprises five parts: Major and Minor Scale, Hua Zui (Plough Share), Sluice Gate, 36 flash locks(dou men) and its main body: North and South Canal.

A V-shaped dame which is referred as Tianping(scale or balance), serves as its turning-point. While Huazui(Plough Share), the pointed part of this dame, channels Xiang Jiang River's water into two sections, of which one part, 30% of the whole flow, goes to the Li River, and the remaining 70% to Xiang River. According to engineers, Huazui was built to regulate flood while flash locks were constructed along the shallow river bed with rapids to conserve water for boat transportation. Both of them contribute to the success and significance of this canal.

Lingqu Canal is flanked by one water town: Water Street, which is an integral part of this glamorous canal. As the child of this canal, Water Street is a living history museum. Except immersing yourself into the splendid ancient architecture complex embodied by bridges, stone sculptures, pavilions, arches, crisscrossing alleys, corridors and relics, you can also observe how local people live happily in this serene town, indulging in the eye-dazzling folk games created thousands of years ago. It will be more a cultural and historic pilgrim than a superficial sightseeing.

Guilin Travel Attractions
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Seven Star Park
Crown Cave
Longsheng Rice Terraces
Sanjiang
Elephant Hill
Ling Canal
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Ming Palace & Mausoleum
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Peach Blossom River
Yu Hill Park
South Creek Park
Two Rivers And Four Lakes
Yuzi Paradise
Wave Subduing Hill
Tunnel Hill Park
Tigers Mountain Villa
Fengyu Cave
Center Square
Li River Folk Custom Center
 
 
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