the Grand Canal's Application for the World Cultural Heritage
 
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Section in Henan Province
2008-7-22 9:39:17ĦĦHits2014

    The Henan Segment of the Grand Canal during the Sui and Tang dynasties (also called "the Jing-Hang Grand Canal) runs through Luoyang, Zhengzhou, Kaifeng, Shangqiu, Xinxiang, Anyang and other places in Henan Province of the People's Republic of China. It covers cultural remains and relics such as Luoyang City during the Sui and Tang dynasties, the Hanjia Granary, Xingyang Ancient City, Dongjing City of the Northern Song, Suiyang City of Shangqiu, the Ancient Canal of Shangqiu. The following is a brief introduction:

    Luoyang City was the eastern capital for the Sui and Tang Periods and had served as another national political, economic, and cultural centre next only to Xi'an city. It is very hard to find any contemporary capital site at home or abroad which could rival this city in its grandness of the city site, its majesty of the constructions, its richness of the cultural significance, and its lengthy history of continuous use, which in turn make this city a very important material evidence in the study of Chinese history and Sino-foreign exchange history in the middle ages.

    Hanjia Granary was a royal granary for the collection of grain land taxations of the prefectures and counties east to the capital. Its history could be traced more than 500 years back all the way through the three dynasties of the Northern Song, Tang and Sui. In the Sui-Tang period, the water-transported grain supply to Luoyang via the canals in the South of the Lower Reaches of the Changjiang River and Tongji Canal was in most cases to be stored in Hanjia Granary.

    Xingyang Ancient City used to be the starting point of the Grand Canal, i.e. Honggou Canal in the Warring States Period. It was no other than this watercourse that had been adopted to mark the division of the country in the famous Chu-Han War. It was made the location of Xingze County in the Sui and Tang periods. The other segment of Tongji Canal introduces water of the Yellow River from Banzhu (in the northwest of present Xingyang) to join Bianshui River via here.

    Dongjing City has been a very important capital city in the ancient Chinese history. After 68 years' construction and maintenance of nine emperors of the Northern Song regime, Dongjing City had emerged as an international metropolis "with a population up to a million and magnificence unparalleled across the lands under heaven". The several major watercourses for the capital supply transportation inside the city, especially Bianhe River, constitute the main lines of the Grand Canal.  

    Suiyang City of Shangqiu was first constructed in the 6th year of Zhengde period in the Ming Dynasty (i.e. A.D. 1511). The city wall was constructed with bricks enwrapped in rammed earth and its circumference amounts to 4,355 meters. The Sites of Suiyang Ancient City of the Han and Tang dynasties, Nanjing City of the Song Dynasty and Gui'de Prefecture City of the Yuan Dynasty have all been submerged by the moat water in the south city. It was a very important commercial city along the Grand Canal.

    As one part of the Grand Canal during the Sui and Tang dynasties, Ancient Canal of Shangqiu had become a cultural relic to link Dongjing City and Nanjing City, the two political, economic and cultural centres. The riverbank is made up of rather hard pitchy brown soil with the mud-and-sand silted riverbed. And the bottom is very smooth owing to the continuous wash of the water. China wares and copper coins of the Sui and Tang periods have been unearthed from the silt on the lower level of the waterbed while cultural remains of the Song Dynasty have been excavated from the upper part.

    As for the section in Henan Province, Luoyang City during the Sui and Tang dynasties is in an important position of the middle-age city history and had a significant influence on the city construction in other areas. The city has a grand scale and strict layout design with perfect city functions. In the Sui and Tang periods, it was the central terminal for the Grand Canal. The stone-laid riverbank found on the riverbed of Luohe River inside the city, the remains of Tianjin Bridge and the large-scale irrigation facilities in the Luonan New District all witnessed the booming days of the Sui-Tang Grand Canal. It well meets the criteria (ii),(iii) and (iv). 

    The dock handling water transportation excavated southeast to Hanjia Granary verified that the head segment of Tongji Canal of the Sui-Tang Grand Canal had very close relationship with Hanjia Granary. The carved bricks, several hundreds of large-scale grain cellars and the carbonized grains of several hundred thousands of grams found in the granary have offered very important original material for the study of the storage technology and management system of large-scale official granaries in the Sui and Tang periods while providing proofs for the booming water transportation brought by the Grand Canal during the Sui and Tang dynasties. And this conforms to the criteria (iii) and (iv).  

    Xingyang Ancient City was built in the Warring States Period and served as the Sanchuan prefecture site in the Qin Dynasty and consequently became one of the important battle fields in the Chu-Han War. There lay Honggou Canal and ancient waterway of the Tongji Canal in the southeast of the city.  There was the largest Han iron-smelting site of the country outside the west city wall, out of which the highest and largest iron-smelting furnace of that contemporary world was unearthed right here. This has qualified it for the criterion (ii).

    Dongjing City of the Northern Song occupied a very important position in the history of ancient Chinese capital development in terms of its city scale, forms and layout. The cultural content of the city site represented the highest level of Chinese economic, cultural and technologic development then. Many significant historical events and scientific achievements took place or had been created here. Thus this project satisfies the criteria (i),(ii),(iii),(iv) and (vi).

    Suiyang city of Shangqiu used to be the alternative capital of the Northern Song capital Dongjing and another important political, economic and cultural centre along the canal. The crowded numerous shops and stalls inside the city made it a city with extremely prosperous commerce. The existing remains of the ancient city ranked among the few well-preserved integral cities of the Ming Dynasty. This enables this project to pass the criteria (ii) and (iv).

    The ancient canal of Shangqiu holds an important position among the ancient waterways of the Grand Canal during the Sui and Tang dynasties. There are dock remains and several sunken ships inside the watercourse. Besides, a great number of relics such as China wares, tri-colored glazed potteries, copper coins, etc. have been excavated as the original material evidence which verifies the Sui-Tang and the Northern Song Grand Canal had run through Shangqiu. This qualifies the project for the world cultural heritage according to the criterion (iii).

    As for the section in Henan Province, Luoyang City during the Sui and Tang dynasties is in an important position of the middle-age city history and had a significant influence on the city construction in other areas. The city has a grand scale and strict layout design with perfect city functions. In the Sui and Tang periods, it was the central terminal for the Grand Canal. The stone-laid riverbank found on the riverbed of Luohe River inside the city, the remains of Tianjin Bridge and the large-scale irrigation facilities in the Luonan New District all witnessed the booming days of the Sui-Tang Grand Canal. It well meets the criteria (ii),(iii) and (iv). 

    The dock handling water transportation excavated southeast to Hanjia Granary verified that the head segment of Tongji Canal of the Sui-Tang Grand Canal had very close relationship with Hanjia Granary. The carved bricks, several hundreds of large-scale grain cellars and the carbonized grains of several hundred thousands of grams found in the granary have offered very important original material for the study of the storage technology and management system of large-scale official granaries in the Sui and Tang periods while providing proofs for the booming water transportation brought by the Grand Canal during the Sui and Tang dynasties. And this conforms to the criteria (iii) and (iv).  

    Xingyang Ancient City was built in the Warring States Period and served as the Sanchuan prefecture site in the Qin Dynasty and consequently became one of the important battle fields in the Chu-Han War. There lay Honggou Canal and ancient waterway of the Tongji Canal in the southeast of the city.  There was the largest Han iron-smelting site of the country outside the west city wall, out of which the highest and largest iron-smelting furnace of that contemporary world was unearthed right here. This has qualified it for the criterion (ii).

    Dongjing City of the Northern Song occupied a very important position in the history of ancient Chinese capital development in terms of its city scale, forms and layout. The cultural content of the city site represented the highest level of Chinese economic, cultural and technologic development then. Many significant historical events and scientific achievements took place or had been created here. Thus this project satisfies the criteria (i),(ii),(iii),(iv) and (vi).

    Suiyang city of Shangqiu used to be the alternative capital of the Northern Song capital Dongjing and another important political, economic and cultural centre along the canal. The crowded numerous shops and stalls inside the city made it a city with extremely prosperous commerce. The existing remains of the ancient city ranked among the few well-preserved integral cities of the Ming Dynasty. This enables this project to pass the criteria (ii) and (iv).

    The ancient canal of Shangqiu holds an important position among the ancient waterways of the Grand Canal during the Sui and Tang dynasties. There are dock remains and several sunken ships inside the watercourse. Besides, a great number of relics such as China wares, tri-colored glazed potteries, copper coins, etc. have been excavated as the original material evidence which verifies the Sui-Tang and the Northern Song Grand Canal had run through Shangqiu. This qualifies the project for the world cultural heritage according to the criterion (iii).

    As for the section in Henan Province, although it has witnessed more than a thousand years' historic vicissitude, its original authenticity and integrity have been well preserved. The initiation and reconstruction of all the listed six cultural relics have fairly complete and clear annals which could in turn be verified with reference to historical archives and archaeological data. There have been little changes in terms of their original appearances in comparison with the present status and structure. The process of their historical development is very clear with their corresponding historical and cultural background very explicit. The surrounding environments of the Luoyang City during the Sui and Tang dynasties and the other five ancient sites remain in their pristine status. Thanks to the underground submergence, little artificial destruction has been done, which ensures high-level integrity.


The World Cultural Heritage Joint Bidding Office of the Grand Canal , all rights reserved (2007-2008)
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