the Grand Canal's Application for the World Cultural Heritage
Section in Shandong Province
2008-7-22 9:41:26ĦĦHits1913

    The section in Shangdong Province lies in the middle of the Grand Canal, and is a hub of transportation as well as the centre of cultural communication between the South and North. If this section Canal was unblocked, the whole route would be. So this part is the key junction of the Grand Canal. In Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasty, the organizations in charge of the Grand Canal were all located here, which was regarded as the difficult and important point of the canal management. Therefore, after this section of Canal was opened, many sluice gates were built in the main course. In order to guarantee the water transportation, the auxiliary Canal-aiding projects of Wenhe and Sihe Rivers Canal were built in Yuan Dynasty; Nanwang Water Project which used water facilities to adjust the water flow of the canal so that transport could e controlled. All of these are of great scientific, historic and artistic value. Especially for Nan Wang Water Project, in the beginning of the Republic of China, Fang Weiyin, an American expert in water conservancy, said with admiration, "This project can be regarded as a great works in the 4th or 5th century at the beginning of engineering. And it is the achievement of wisdom and improvement of ancient people. At the sight of it we have to have boundless respect and admiration." On either bank of the Canal, there are many humane landscapes and inscriptions closely connected with the Grand Canal, which are of profound cultural connotation, such as the inscription "Da Yuan Xin Kai Hui Tong He Ji". In a word, the section in Shangdong Province is a very important part of the Grand Canal. And its value applies to criteria (i), (iii) and (iv) for being listed in the World Cultural Heritage.

    In the case of the Section in Shandong Province, when the Grand Canal from Beijing to Hangzhou achieved all line run-through, governors and temporary governors in charge of water in Yuan Dynasty began to set their office in Jining, and that was the beginning of central government organization water transport handling official business in Jining. The fourth year of Yanyou (1317 A.D.), Kuo Kai, the eunuch administering water transport, was stationed in Jining, building the Jinkouba Dam, damming water into the Canal from the Sihe River, and supervising water transportation. The 6th year of Zhizheng (1346 A.D.), the government sent governors from Shandong and Henan to Jining. The 11th year of Zhizheng, Jia Lu, the Minister of the Board of Works, came to Jining as the general envoy to take charge of the river flood-prevention work. In Ming Dynasty, the river premier, river governor, river manager, general governor of water transportation, and the imperial inspector etc., called general governor in short, were officially appointed by the imperial government as the supreme administrative organization of the Grand Canal. The 9th year of Yongle (1411 A.D.), Song Li, the Minister of the Board of Works came to live in Jining to administer the river. He set up government office managing the river; In Qing Dynasty, the water transport organization followed the pattern of Ming Dynasty when Shun Zhi was the Emperor. In Kang Xi's time, there were some new systems, but the classification of the government offices was the same as in Ming Dynasty. The river general governor office was built on the former site where Song Li once built his. Lin Zexu, the famous Opium-smoking Prohibition Movement leader, national hero, was appointed to be the general governor of the river in Jining in the 11th year of Dao Guang (1831 A.D.). As is investigated, from the early time of Qing Dynasty to the 28th year of Guang Xu (1902 AD), when the water transport was suspended; there were 119 governors assigned by the court, 101 of whom filled the post, and nearly half of them were first-rank officials. There's no doubt that Jining is the capital of the Canal. After the People's Republic of China was founded, the local government of Jining carried through the Act of maintaining the canal by cleaning up the silt in 1958. In 1985, the local government declared the passage of the ancient Canal in downtown Jining as preservation of cultural relics. In 1992, Jinkouba Dam and Nan Wang Bifurcating Dragon Temple were made to public as provincial preservation of cultural relics of Shandong. In 2002, Jining Cultural Relic Administration Bureau and Jining Constructing Committee had delimited the protection range and the construction controlling land to the ancient Canal of urban area. And it was brought into Jining city construction plan.

    The Grand Canal in Jining is not affected by the disadvantage of territorial industrialization and urbanization. The large enterprises along the Canal have been moved out. In addition, the government has frequently carried out the silt-clearing. There is no contamination at all. The Jining Cultural Relic Administration Bureau insists on the principle of the preservation of cultural relics. The government has repaired and protected the Jinkouba Dam, the Bifurcating Dragon Temple, Nanyang Sluice gate, the stone wall dike of the ancient Canal, Huiyuan Sluice gate and Huitong Bridge. The style and features of the ancient Canal's has been kept as it was, which gives impression to its authenticity and completeness.

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