Wednesday, October 7, 2009

China Souvenir Sheet: 2009-23

China Souvenir Sheet
Name: Beijing - Hangzhou Grand Canal (京杭大运河)
Number: 2009-23
Date of Issue: 26 September 2009

A Thousand-li Thoroughfare (千里通波)

The Beijing - Hangzhou Grand Canal, stretching 1,794 kilometers from Beijing in the north to Hangzhou in the south, is the longest manmade water course in the world. It passes through Beijing and Tianjin Municipalities and the provinces of Hebei, Shandong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang, connecting the Haihe, Huanghe (Yellow), Huaihe, Changjiang (Yangtze), and Qiantang Rivers. Since its construction, the canal has played an important role in shipping, irrigation, flood control, drainage, and the interflow of commodities, and has promoted cultural exchange as well. The Zhenguosi Pagoda, in the canal's Gaoyou Section, is one of the representatives for the extensive promotion of Buddhist culture. First built in the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907), the pagoda originally stood on the bank of the canal, and when the canal was extended in 1956, a 100-meter-diameter earthen islet was erected to surround and defend the pagoda, making it the only islet-based Buddhist pagoda along the Grand Canal.

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