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Ling Canal

Ling Canal is situated in Xing'an County, 66 kilometers (41 miles) away to the northeast of Guilin in Guangxi Province. It is one of the oldest and most integrated canals in existence in the world. Beautiful scenery, cultural relics, and historical sites make the Ling Canal a famous scenic spot in Guilin.

The canal was built from 219BC to 214BC in the reign of Emperor Qin Shi Huang (259BC - 210BC, the first emperor who unified China) and renovated several times in the following dynasties. After annexing the six countries (Qi States, Chu States, Yan States, Han States, Zhao States, Wei States), Qin Shi Huang dispatched 500,000 troops to the regions south of the Five Ridges (covering Guangdong and Guangxi Provinces). However, there were no convenient roads to the south. Therefore, Qin Shi Huang ordered Shi Lu (an official of the Qin) to take charge of the building of a canal which would enable the transportation of food and money for the army. When completed, the project not only facilitated the transporting of goods but also provided irrigation to the region. In a word, it played an important role in the integration of China and the prosperity of that region.

The canal, about 34 kilometers (21 miles) long, consists of two parts: the northern canal and the southern canal. Connecting the Xiang River and the Li River, the canal is 10 meters (32 feet) in length and 1.5 meters (5 feet) in depth. Each of the five parts of the canal has a specific function. For example, Hua Zui, in the shape of a ploughshare, is a stone dam made of giant stones. Its function is to divide the upper reaches of a sea partly into the northern canal which disembogues itself into the Xiang Rive and partly into the southern canal, which empties into the Li River. Scientifically designed, it still performs its function in terms of irrigation.

You can see the Ling Canal at Xing'an, a market town of about 30,000 people, two hours by road from Guilin. The town is also connected to Guilin by rail; a local train leaves Guilin in the morning and another returns in the afternoon. Two canals flow through the town, one at the north end and one at the south; the total length of the canal is 34km. The local sights include Feileishi (Flying in From Elsewhere Rock), the Su Bridge (aka Zhuangyuan Qiao or the Bridge of the Number One Scholar), Doumen Gate, Daxiao Tianping (the Big and Small Draining Weirs), Xieshui Tianping (the Draining Weir), Qin Embankment,Qin Culture Square, Huazui (the Mouth of Ploughshare) and the something called the Memorial Hall of the Four Local Worthies.

Transportation: Take train 2514 at 8:16 AM from Guilin and get off at Xing'an Station. Ling Canal is in the southeast of that county.