Some 1,100 miles (1,800 km) in length, it is the world’s longest man-made waterway, though, strictly speaking, not all of it is a canal. Its course is today divided into seven sections. [27] Chinese engineers built a dam to divert the Wen River to the southwest in order to feed 60% of its water north into the Grand Canal, with the remainder going south. Song Li's improvements, recommended by a local man named Bai Ying, included damming the rivers Wen and Guang and drawing lateral canals from them to feed reservoir lakes at the very summit, at a small town called Nanwang. At present, diversions of water mean that the lakes are often largely dry land. By this point waterless, it no longer connects to the river. The Jiangnan (or ‘South of the Yangtze’) Canal is heavily utilized by barge traffic bringing coal and construction materials to the booming delta. The section from Jining to Beijing is not available for transport due to the silt deposit buildup from the Yellow River and lack of water sources. Omissions? The Grand Canal, known to the Chinese as the Jing–Hang Grand Canal (Chinese: 京杭大運河; pinyin: Jīng-Háng Dà Yùnhé; lit. By the 1990s, pollution in the canal had reached the point where boat and barge crews could tell when they were nearing Hangzhou by the stench of the visibly black water. [9] The exact date of the Hong Gou's construction is uncertain; it is first mentioned by the diplomat Su Qin in 330 BC when discussing state boundaries. [23] This allowed ships to wait within a gated space while the water could be drained to appropriate levels; the Chinese also built roofed hangars over the space to add further protection for the ships. Most of the traffic of the city is filled with yachts, private boats, vaporetti, water taxis and gondolas are famous. He created a 1 670m long east-west perspective in the axis of the Palace by digging the canal. Add your answer and earn points. This ‘Inner Canal’ runs between the Yangtze and Huai'an in Jiangsu, skirting the Shaobo, Lake Gaoyou, and Hongze lakes of central Jiangsu. After the canal's completion in 609, Emperor Yang led a recorded 105 km (65 mi) long naval flotilla of boats from the north down to his southern capital at Yangzhou.[11]. Grand Canal, Chinese (Pinyin) Da Yunhe or (Wade-Giles romanization) Ta Yün-ho, also called Jing-Hang Yunhe (“Beijing-Hangzhou Canal”), series of waterways in eastern and northern China that link Hangzhou in Zhejiang province with Beijing. After Beijing again became the seat of government in 1403, the whole canal—including the section from Linqing on the Wei to its junction with the Huang He, which was dredged and repaired—remained in operation until the 19th century. The water level in the Jiangnan Canal remains scarcely above sea level (the Zhenjiang ridge is 12 meters higher than that of the Yangtze River). Interesting Facts about the Grand Canal Historians estimate that the oldest section of the canal was built around the 6th century BC. The building of the canal … In the third century AD, an official named He Xun supervised the construction of the Xixing Canal, establishing the complete Eastern Zhejiang Canal. Cargo barges on the Grand Canal at Suzhou, Jiangsu province, China. When the canal was completed it linked the systems of the Qiantang River, the Yangtze River, the Huai River, the Yellow River, the Wei River, and the Hai River. There were two concentrated periods of canal building, from 1759 to the early 1770’s and from 1789 to almost the end of the eighteenth century. Work began in 1793 on the 3km tunnel and at the time was a major feat of engineering with no mechanical machine beyond the basic picks, shovels and wheelbarrows available. In the Qing dynasty, the Kangxi and Qianlong emperors made twelve trips to the south, on all occasions but one reaching Hangzhou. At its terminus, the canal joins the Hai River in the center of Tianjin City before turning north-west. Who Built The grand canal The reason the Canal was built was because emperor Yang wanted a quicker way to transport grains to Beijing. As well as its present-day course, fourteen centuries of canal-building have left the Grand Canal with a number of historical sections. [45], In 1793, after a largely fruitless diplomatic mission to Jehol, a large part of Lord Macartney's embassy returned south to the Yangtze delta via the Grand Canal. Between 1958 and 1964 it was straightened, widened, and dredged; one new section 40 miles (65 km) long was constructed, and modern locks were added. The elevation of the canal bed varies from 1 m below sea level at Hangzhou to 38.5 m above at its summit. [2] With the recorded labor of five million men and women under the supervision of Ma Shumou, the first major section of the Grand Canal was completed in the year 605—called the Bian Qu. By 1759 he reported that 3 km (1.9 mi) in the Bog of Allen and 13 km (8.1 mi) of canal from the River Liffey near Sallins towards Dublin were complete. Yes, the navvies dug Blisworth by hand. The Shanyang Canal originally opened onto the Yangtze a short distance south of Yangzhou. [36][37] China’s first great canal system, which created a northeast-southwest link from the Huang He (when the Huang had a northern course) to the Huai River, was built beginning in 605 during the Sui dynasty (581–618). [12], The earlier dike-building project in 587 along the Yellow River—overseen by engineer Liang Rui—established canal lock gates to regulate water levels for the canal. reservoir lakes at the very summit, at a small town called Nanwang, On an Ancient Canal, Grunge Gives Way to Grandeur, "Suzhou Grand Canal – Golden Waterway in China", The missionaries traveled along The Grand Canal –,, The Confusions of Pleasure: Commerce and Culture in Ming China, Hangzhou Section of The Grand Canal – EN.GOTOHZ.COM, Nanjing University of Science and Technology, China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition, Transport by province or autonomous region, Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties,, Articles containing Chinese-language text, Articles containing traditional Chinese-language text, Articles with unsourced statements from August 2019, Articles containing simplified Chinese-language text, All Wikipedia articles needing clarification, Wikipedia articles needing clarification from January 2010, Articles with obsolete information from March 2012, All Wikipedia articles in need of updating, Wikipedia articles incorporating a citation from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica with Wikisource reference, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Migratory Bird Sanctuaries along the Coast of, This page was last edited on 23 January 2021, at 18:34. In 1289, a geological survey preceded its one-year construction. It is now the subject of a restoration project. North of the northernmost Nanyang Lake is the city of Jining. The main traffic, however, is concentrated in the southern half. A… At Beijing, it reaches 27 m, fed by streams flowing downhill from the mountains to the west. After leaving Hangzhou the canal passes around the eastern border of Lake Tai, through the major cities of Jiaxing, Suzhou, Wuxi, and Changzhou before reaching Zhenjiang. [47][48], Coordinates: .mw-parser-output .geo-default,.mw-parser-output .geo-dms,.mw-parser-output .geo-dec{display:inline}.mw-parser-output .geo-nondefault,.mw-parser-output .geo-multi-punct{display:none}.mw-parser-output .longitude,.mw-parser-output .latitude{white-space:nowrap}30°15′41″N 120°13′26″E / 30.26139°N 120.22389°E / 30.26139; 120.22389, Longest canal or artificial river in the world located in China, Watercraft moving across the Grand Canal of China in, "Grand Canal" in Simplified (top) and Traditional (bottom) Chinese characters. venice was built on a group isles in the middle ages, so the grand canal in natural. This would cause disaster and prolonged economic hardships for local residents. [3] The canal has been admired by many throughout history including Japanese monk Ennin (794–864), Persian historian Rashid al-Din (1247–1318), Korean official Choe Bu (1454–1504), and Italian missionary Matteo Ricci (1552–1610).[4][5]. [33] Because of various factors—the difficulty of crossing the Yellow River, the increased development of an alternative sea route for grain-ships, and the opening of the Tianjin-Pukou Railway and the Beijing-Hankou Railway—the canal languished and for decades the northern and southern parts remained separate. Designed by Antonio da Ponte in the late 16th century, the Rialto Bridge crosses the canal at roughly its halfway point. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. A $250 million restoration project begun in 2001 has improved water quality to the point where it no longer smells and is once again capable of supporting some fauna.[34]. In 1345, Arab traveler Ibn Battuta traveled China and journeyed through the Abe Hayat river (Grand Canal) up to the capital Khanbalik (Beijing). The following are the most important but do not form an exhaustive list. From south to north these are the Jiangnan Canal, the Inner Canal, the Middle Canal, the Lu Canal, the South Canal, the North Canal, and the Tonghui River. The oldest part of the canal lies between the Yangtze and the city of Huaiyin (formerly called Qingjiang) in Jiangsu province, which was originally on the Huang He (Yellow River) when that river followed a course much farther to the south. THE GRAND CANAL is one of the wonders of the world. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. This ‘Middle Canal’ section runs from Huai'an to Weishan Lake, passing through Luoma Lake and following more than one course, the result of the impact of centuries of Yellow River flooding. The original house was built in the 1790s, just a year after the Naas branch of the canal was opened. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership. In 1926, the Regents Canal Co. agreed to buy the Grand Junction Canal subject to them purchasing the Warwick Canals. This section, traditionally known as the Shanyang Canal, in recent centuries has been called the Southern Grand Canal (Nan Yunhe). [12] The Grand Canal was fully completed under the second Sui emperor, from the years 604 to 609,[13] first by linking Luoyang to the Yangzhou (and the Yangtze valley), then expanding it to Hangzhou (south), and Beijing (north). For an excellent examination of the house and its construction, see … This southernmost section of the canal runs from Hangzhou in Zhejiang, where the canal connects with the Qiantang River, to Zhenjiang in Jiangsu, where it meets the Yangtze. The Grand Canal was built to connect 1 See answer 05isamar51479 is waiting for your help. The reconstruction of the canal began in 2002, by 2007 it was partially navigable, and the renovation project finished in 2009, though the Ningbo section was not navigable until the end of 2013. The governments of the Shandong, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang Provinces planned dredging meant to increase shipping capacity by 40 percent by 2012. The southern portion remains in heavy use to the present day. In recent years, because of newer modes of transportation, the canal has been gradually replaced. From the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368) to the Qing Dynasty (1644–1912), the Eastern Zhejiang Canal lost its privilege but remained navigable. The total length of the Grand Canal is 1,776 km (1,104 mi). He achieved this by joining two of these rivers' tributaries, the Si and the Ji respectively, at their closest point, across a low watershed of the Shandong massif. Although it was mainly used for shipping grain, it also transported other commodities and the corridor along the canal developed into an important economic belt. The convenience of transport also enabled rulers to lead inspection tours to southern China. It comprised six main sections: (1) a short canal from the outskirts of Beijing to Tongzhou, (2) a canalized river joining the Hai River to Tianjin and then joining the Wei River as far as Linqing, (3) a section in Shandong rising over comparatively high ground from Linqing to its highest point near Jining and then falling again to a point near Xuzhou, a difficult stretch using a series of dams, sluices, and locks supplied with water from a number of small rivers flowing off the Mount Tai massif and from the string of lakes southeast of Jining, (4) a stretch from Xuzhou that followed the southern course of the Huang He as far as Huaiyin, (5) a section from Huaiyin following the ancient Shanyang Canal south to Zhenjiang on the Yangtze, and (6) a section south of the Yangtze where the canal, there called the Jiangnan Yunhe, ran southeast and then southwest for some 200 miles (320 km) via Suzhou to Hangzhou. [10] The historian Sima Qian (145–90 BC) knew of no historical date for it, placing his discussion of it just after the legendary works of Yu the Great; modern scholars now consider it to belong to the 6th century BC. After a particularly rough crossing of the Yangtze from Zhenjiang, the local prefect realized that a canal dug directly across Guazhou would reduce the journey time and thus make the crossing safer. Some of these have disappeared, others are still partially extant, and others form the basis for the modern canal. The Yongle Emperor moved the Ming capital from Nanjing to Beijing in 1403[citation needed]. Eventually another stretch of canal, the Huitong Canal, was built to join Dong’e Zhen on the Huang He with the Wei River at Linqing. The northernmost portion, linking Beijing and Luoyang, was named the Yongji Channel. Versailles Palace. The mouth of the Daqing, however, silted up almost immediately. [11][12] The history of the canal's construction is handed down in the book Kaiheji ('Record of the Opening of the Canal'). [12], Between 604 and 609, Emperor Yang Guang (or Sui Yangdi) of the Sui dynasty ordered several canals to be dug in a 'Y' shape, from Hangzhou in the south to terminate in (modern) Beijing and the capital region along the Yellow River valley. The Grand Canal we see today was built section by section in different areas and dynasties before it was linked together by the Sui Dynasty (581-618). By 1763 he had completed 3 locks and 6 bridges towards Dublin and was concentrating on establishing a water supply from the Morell Rivernear Sallins. [28] In 1855 the dikes of the canal were opened to flood advancing troops of the Taiping Rebellion's Northern Expedition. On June 22, 2014, The Grand Canal was listed as a World Heritage Site, at the 2014 Conference on World Heritage.[35]. In the 19th century a series of disastrous floods broke the dikes of the Huang He (which began to shift to its present northern course), caused great problems in the section of the canal between Xuzhou and Huaiyin, and cut across the canal between Linqing and Jining. After the Taiping Rebellion (1850–64) and the Nian Rebellion (1853–68), the use of the canal as the major supply line to Beijing was abandoned, and the canal gradually fell into disrepair in its northern sections. This latter course is less used today. The oldest, and easily the most famous, span is the Rialto Bridge. The economic importance of the canal likely will continue. This change in effect moved the Grand Canal from the low-lying and flood-prone land west of Weishan Lake onto the marginally higher land to its east. The Jianbi ship locks on the Yangtze are currently handling some 75,000,000 tons[vague] each year, and the Li Canal is forecast to reach 100,000,000 tons[vague] in the next few years. 1 0. In 1282–83 the decision was made to build a new canal from the Huang He—which since 1195 had changed its course southward and taken over the former mouth of the Huai below Huaiyin—to the Daqing River in northern Shandong province, which was dredged to give an outlet to the sea. (mostly in the seventh century A.D.), was completed in the 13th century A.D. The construction of the Jia Canal left only 100 kilometers (62 mi) of Yellow River navigation on the Grand Canal, from Suqian to Huai'an, which by 1688 had been removed by the construction of the Middle Canal by Jin Fu. The Grand Canal, called in Chinese Yii … Though one of the northernmost sections, its name derives from its position relative to Tianjin. This portion of the canal was used to transport troops to what is now the North Korean border region during the Goguryeo-Sui Wars (598–614). Grand Canal - Construction. A scholar-official named Lou Yue, secretary to the delegation, recorded the journey, much of which was made upon the Grand Canal, and submitted his Diary of a Journey to the North to the emperor on his return. During the Yuan dynasty, a further canal on the Tonghui River connected Tongzhou with a wharf called the Houhai or "rear sea" in central Beijing. The fifth section of the canal extends for a distance of 524 kilometers (326 mi) from Linqing to Tianjin along the course of the canalized Wei River. Recent works have allowed floodwaters from Shanghe to be diverted safely out to sea. The earliest work on the grand canal was done by the Sui Dynasty from 581ce to 618ce, millions of labourers worked on the river in . It was built as an arm of the Grand Junction Canal, in two separate phases, opening in 1800 and 1801. In 1488, the shipwrecked Korean scholar Choe Bu traveled the entire length of the Grand Canal on his way from Zhejiang to Beijing (and on to Korea) and left a detailed account of his trip. [42], In 1170, the poet, politician, and historian Lu You traveled along the Grand Canal from Shaoxing to the river Yangtze, recording his progress in a diary. Marco Polo recounted the Grand Canal's arched bridges as well as the warehouses and prosperous trade of its cities in the 13th century. [8] It linked the Yellow River near Kaifeng to the Si and Bian rivers and became the model for the shape of the Grand Canal in the north. As the north shore of the Yangtze gradually silted up to create the sandbank island of Guazhou, it became necessary for boats crossing to and from the Jiangnan Canal to sail the long way around the eastern edge of that island. Near the edge of Shandong at Jining there are locks to allow it to climb the foothills of Meng Shan. The Eastern Zhejiang Canal (simplified Chinese: 浙东运河;; traditional Chinese: 浙東運河;; pinyin: zhèdōng yùnhé), also known as the Hangzhou–Ningbo Canal (杭甬运河) is located in Zhejiang. The canal's central portions stretched from Yangzhou to Luoyang; the section between the Yangtze and the Huai continued to the Shanyang River, and the next section connected the Huai to the Yellow River and was called the Tongji Channel. In 1600, Matteo Ricci traveled to Beijing from Nanjing via the Grand Canal waterway to gain the support of the Wanli Emperor of the Ming dynasty with the help of Wang Zhongde, the Director of the Board of Rites in the central government of China at the time. [2] Ships in Chinese canals did not have trouble reaching higher elevations after the pound lock was invented in the 10th century, during the Song dynasty (960–1279), by the government official and engineer Qiao Weiyue. It was disused from 1932, but was not finally abandoned until 1964. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Grand Canal is an ancient aqueduct which is lined with buildings of approximately 170 buildings, mostly built in the 13th century until the 18th century, which was also largely built by a wealthy Venetian family. After the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the need for economic development led the authorities to order heavy reconstruction work. Named after the Jia River whose course it followed, it ran 140 kilometers (87 mi) from Xiazhen (modern Weishan) on the shore of Shandong's Weishan Lake to Suqian in Jiangsu. [12] Double slipways were installed to haul boats over when the difference in water levels were too great for the flash lock to operate. Known as the New Bian Canal, it remained the chief waterway throughout the Tang period (618–907) and the Northern Song period (960–1125/26). Mostly built over the flood plains made by the wandering Yellow River, long stretches are flat and so were easy to construct. What dynasty was the grand canal built? [29] The only other viable contender with Suzhou in the Jiangnan region was Hangzhou, but it was located 200 km (120 mi) further down the Grand Canal and away from the main delta. [30] Even the shipwrecked Korean Choe Bu (1454–1504)—while traveling for five months throughout China in 1488—acknowledged that Hangzhou served not as a competitor but as an economic feeder into the greater Suzhou market. It was built to enable successive Chinese regimes to transport surplus grain from the agriculturally rich Yangtze (Chang) and Huai river valleys to feed the capital cities and large standing armies in northern China. [15] Besides being the headquarters for the government salt monopoly and the largest pre-modern industrial production center of the empire, Yangzhou was also the geographical midpoint along the north-south trade axis, and so became the major center for southern goods shipped north. Yellow and Yangzi. Construction on the Eastern Route officially began on December 27, 2002, and water was supposed to reach Tianjin by 2012. The Manchus established the Qing dynasty (1644–1912), and under their leadership, the Grand Canal was overseen and maintained just as in earlier times. From south to north these are the Jiangnan Canal, the Inner Canal, the Middle Canal, the Lu Canal, the South Canal, the North Canal, and the Tonghui River. The Huitong Canal, built by an engineer called Ma Zhizhen, ran across sharply sloping ground and the high concentration of locks gave it the nicknames chahe or zhahe, i.e. The reopening of the Grand Canal also benefited Suzhou over Nanjing since the former was in a better position on the main artery of the Grand Canal, and so it became Ming China's greatest economic center. About 50 km (31 mi) further north, passing close by Dongping Lake, the canal reaches the Yellow River. In 604 AD, Emperor Yangdi of the Sui Dynasty toured Luoyang (now the city in Henan Province). Dynasties in 1271–1633 significantly restored and rebuilt the canal and altered its route to supply their capital. Currently, ships can only travel up to Jining. Although to spectators, the canal appears to be a deep waterway in these city centers, its depth is maintained by weirs and the canal is all but dry where it passes through the surrounding countryside. [28] They dug four large reservoirs in Shandong to regulate water levels, which allowed them to avoid pumping water from local sources and water tables. Area lakes - Grand Lake St. Marys, Lake Loramie, and Indian Lake - were all built as feeder reservoirs for the canal. Many deaths, decline of dynasty. From here to Linqing, the canal is called the Lu or ‘Shandong’ Canal. It has allowed faster trading and has thus improved China's economy. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. What rivers did the Grand Canal connect? At Weishan Lake, both courses enter Shandong province. 1 decade ago. The excavation of the Grand Canal may be compared with the Great Wall in magnitude. [31], Besides its function as a grain shipment route and major vein of river-borne indigenous trade in China, the Grand Canal had long been a government-operated courier route as well. [20] Such an unfortunate event could reduce the legitimacy of a ruling dynasty by causing others to perceive it as having lost the Mandate of Heaven; this was a good reason for dynastic authorities to maintain a smooth and efficient canal system. The old canal lining (put in the canal in early 70s) was now giving way and causing substantial leaks in the bed of the canal again. In November 2008, as an extension of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal and the passage between the Grand Canal and the Maritime Silk Road, the Eastern Zhejiang Canal was placed into the nomination file in the UNESCO World Heritage program. 1 decade ago. THE GRAND UNION CANAL HISTORY The first step towards the creation of the Grand Union was taken in 1925, when the Grand Junction sought a report from the engineer of the Warwick canals on the cost of putting them in order. Slough-Eton canal. Test the density—or sparsity—of your knowledge of China in this quiz. 607 CE. Its course is today divided into seven sections. In May 2013, the Eastern Zhejiang Canal was listed in the seventh group of Major Historical and Cultural Site Protected at the National Level and was included in the Grand Canal. The Grand Canal was built in the perspective of Versailles Palace by gardener Andre Lenotre. The idea of connecting Dublin to the Shannon was proposed as early as 1715, and in 1757 the Irish Parliament granted Thomas Omer £20,000 to start construction of a canal. Anonymous. This ancient waterway was first constructed as early as the 4th century bce, was rebuilt in 607 ce, and has been used ever since. In the Ming and Qing dynasties, however, the water level in the Tonghui River dropped and ships could not travel from Tongzhou to Beijing. Peasants. The Grand Canal – the big canal that runs through the heart of Venice – is deeper, at an average of 5 metres, while the Canale della Giudecca – which separates the main part of Venice from the island of Giudecca – is around 12 to 17 metres deep. The first Accademia Bridge was built in the mid-19th century at the canal’s east end to facilitate foot traffic. Further on, about 30 km (19 mi) north of Jining, the highest elevation of the canal (38.5 m or 126 ft above sea level) is reached at the town of Nanwang. This move deprived Nanjing of its status as chief political center of China. After 1934 the Chinese government carried out extensive works on the canal between Huaiyin and the Yangtze; ship locks were constructed to allow medium-sized steamers to use this section, which was dredged and largely rebuilt. 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