World's oldest canal to apply for UN World Heritage status

14:41, April 13, 2011      

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A total of 35 cities in eight provinces along the Grand Canal of China will submit a joint application for inscribing the canal on the UN World Heritage List in hopes that the canal will be added to the list in 2014, according to information from the Grand Canal Protection and World Heritage Application Conference in Yangzhou.

The Grand Canal is the world's oldest and longest man-made canal and is still in use. China started applying for World Heritage status for the canal in 2009. The conference in Yangzhou marked the successful completion of the groundwork for the final application.

The "Master Plan for the Protection and Management of the Grand Canal" and the "Tentative List of Sites and Grand Canal Sections for World Heritage Status" were passed at the conference. On the tentative list are 132 relic sites along the canal and 43 sections of the canal in 35 cities in eight provinces, said Lu Qiong, deputy director of the Division of Relics Protection and Archaeology under the State Administration of Cultural Heritage.

The Grand Canal is composed of the Beijing-Hangzhou Canal, Sui-Tang Canal, and Zhedong Canal, and is over 2,000 years old. It starts in Beijing, and passes through Tianjin and the provinces of Hebei, Shandong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Henan, and Anhui. The over 1,100-kilometer section of the canal to the south of Shandong's Jining is still in use today.

A tentative list of the sites along the Grand Canal and its sections for World Heritage status was released on April 12, 2011, and a timetable has also been established. A final draft of the World Heritage application should be finished before September 2012, and the sites and sections on the tentative list should complete preparatory work and receive an on-site assessment by an international expert panel before August 2013.

By People's Daily Online

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