The Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal is the longest and the largest engineering ancient canal in the world. It is also one of the oldest canals in the world. The Grand Canal is named the one of the three great projects with the Great Wall and the karez (an irrigation system of wells connected by underground channel). It is taken into use till now and is the crystal of wisdom of the ancient Chinese toilers and also is one of the symbols of Chinese culture status.
The overall length of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal is about 1797 kilometers, connecting Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Shandong, Hebei, Tianjin and Beijing and cut-through the five water system including the Haihe River, Yellow River, Huaihe River, Yangtze River and Qiantang River. The canal made a great effort to the Industrial and agricultural economy along the river compared to the low speed and the small volume of manpower and animal power.
Tongzhou canal section is the terminal point of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal and as the important developing area of new Beijing, its landscape design directly affect the urban regional development. The concept of "landscape" is practiced and reflected in the project.
Through the canal of the waterfront space on both sides of the landscape planning and design, landscape architects directly involved in leading the area of the city planning and design, and using the respect local historical culture and ecological environment design gimmick. The Beijing section is included into the Six Sceneries which are the Western Suburb Scenic Spot, the Great Wall Scenic Spot, Imperial Mausoleum reserves, Wanping Historic Conservation, Jingxi Temple Scenic Spot.
Highlights along the Canal
Zhangjiawan Ancient City
Zhangjiawan Ancient City was built in Ming Dynasty. During the period of Ming and Qing Dynasty, the business in the city was standing in great numbers. The Zhangjiawan Ancient City was known as the greatest wharf of the Grand Canal. Visitors can see the ancient Tongyun Bridge built for about 380 years.
The Youmin Taoist Temple is also a must-see in Zhangjiawan. It is the largest Taoist Temple during the Ming and Qing Dynasty and is also the first place where immortals live. The ancient Sophora japonica in royal wood factory planted a Sophora japonica having a history of more than 600 years. The Sophora japonica is the only one preserved from 1528.
Visitors can have a good view in the Grape Grand View Garden and enjoy the happiness of plucking graps.
The Randeng Tower
The Lightening Tower is located in the north area of Tongzhou district in Beijing and the west side of the Grand Canal. The whole name of the Lightening Tower is the Randeng Buddha stupas and is commonly known as the Tongzhou Tower. The tower is seen as the wonderful scenery on the north of the Grand Canal and also is the symbol of the Tongzhou Ancient City.
The ancient tower has seven wonders. The first wonder is the large number of the wind bells. There are more than 2,000 wind bells hanging on the tower. On every wind bell carved the name of the donators and the shape of the bells are different from each other. The second wonder is the large number of the statue of god. There are over 400 statues of god inset on the wall of the tower and are also in different shapes.
The third one is the bronze mirror on the top of the tower weighing 5 kilograms. The next wonder is the stone tablet carving a piece of seven patterns on the south of the 13 floor. The 10-meter-long core column length, the elm planted on the top of the tower and the reflection in the Grand Canal of the tower are the last three wonders visitors must see.
The Nanxin Granary is located in the Beijing. It was the granary used to store the imperial-cereals and rice as the tax by the royal in Ming and Qing Dynasty. The granary was set in the seven year of Yongle, having had a history of more than 600 years. It embodies the crystal of industrious, brave and wisdom of the ancient Han people.
Nowadays, Nanxin Granary becomes a Leisure culture street located in the head of the Ping’ an Street. There is a saying about the street “the new exists in the ole while the fashion is combined with the history”. The street covers an area of 26,000 square meters and over 1,000 meters long. The street consists of the group of the old Nanxin Granary, the group of archaize building and the Nanxin Granary Commercial building.
The ancient granary is filled with a lot of modern elements. There are art gallery, music transmission center, film and television culture club, culture media studio, Kun opera theater, Chinese and foreign characteristic restaurant, bar, tea house and so on located in the street.
The previous name of the Houmen Bridge is called the Wanning Bridge. There are ten circular engravers of the beast which can calm the water. Around the beast, there are carvings of cloud, water, wave, and vortex. The technology of the engravers is exquisite and feels like they were alive and flowing. The beasts on the bridge are wonders.
They have the head of dragon, the body of dragon and the paw of dragon. But seeing their heads in detail, they are like liger. Because they dragon bodies are short and the tails full of dragon scale are like the tail of the tiger. From the whole picture, the beasts look like huge tigers. In their paw grabbing two sprays. The beasts are divided into three levels, people can judge the water level according to the three levels of the beasts.
Baifu Spring is the culture relic protection site in Beijing. It is located in the east slope of the Donglong Mountain in the north of Beijing. The spring is also called Dragon Spring. In the ancient years, there was a pool. There are nine dragon heads at the source of the water, named Nine Dragon Pool. The water is coming out of the mouth of the dragon. Local people call it “dragons sprinkle the jade” and “dragons playing in the water”.
The Dragon King Temple and the quadrangle courtyard located on the southeast slope of the Dragon Mountain is also must-see in the Baifu Spring Culture Relic.
Sights along the Grand Canal
In 2014, the Beijing section of Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal reopens to navigation and the Grand Canal is recorded into World Heritage List officially. In November, the pier located in the east end of the Xinhua Main Street began its trial operation. In addition to conquer the Great Wall, experience the Forbidden City and take a breath of the art in the National Grand Theatre, visitors gain a more chance to enjoy the navigation on the canal.
There are many shipping anchoring by the pier. There are both sculling boats, sightseeing boats and cruise ships. Visitors can take on these shipping to appreciate the scenery on both sides of the river bank. The trees shade the street on the banks, with the wild ducks and waterfowls flying out of the reed marshes. On mid-autumn day, visitors also can enjoy the glorious full moon and taste the moon cakes on the boat.
Grand Canal Forest Park
In 2013, the government builds a new park called Grand Canal Forest Park. It is located on the two sides of the Grand Canal, running 8.6km on the north side of the canal in Tongzhou. The park includes six scenic spots. The peach and willow scenic spot, warbler scenic spot, silver maple scenic spot, jungle scenic spot, boating scenic spot and the forest scenic spot.
Visitors can take a stroll and carry picnics in the park. With the blooming clusters of flowers, the food will be more delicious and will feel pleasure both on physical and mental.