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Ling Canal

Ling Canal, an ancient water conservancy project from the Qin Dynasty (221 B.C.-206 B.C.), is boasted to be the earliest canal in the world.

Ling Canal was originally built to connect the water systems of the Yangtze River and Pearl River. In 221 B.C., Ying Zheng, the first emperor in China's history unified the country after defeating other six warring states of Chu, Zhao, Qi, Yan, Wei and Han. The emperor's ambition was blocked by the endless mountain ranges to the south of the Yangtze River when his troops went down further southward to the area in today's Guangxi Province. The only way was to build a canal, which could connect the river systems in the Yangtze Region and Pearl River Region and provide the water transportation for the troops. Consequently, Ling Canal was constructed. In the past 200 years, the canal has played an important role in water transportation and agricultural irrigations in this region.

Located in Xing'an County, 57 kilometers (35.4 miles) away from Guilin City, this ancient project was firstly built in 214 B.C. The project construction has been elaborately designed with the main dams, the northern and southern canals, Huazui (diversion dykes), sluice gates and Dou Men.

Solid wood columns were placed vertically and horizontally at the bottom of the river and were tamped to form the solid foundation of the dam. Then huge stone slabs closely connected with iron rivets were added onto the foundation. The integration of wood, stones and iron knots has made the dam standing through both the floods and ages. In some shoal sections or deep ravines, which were very difficult for ships to go through, a unique structure called Dou Men was constructed. Dou Men is actually something like today's ship lock which could lift up or drop down the water surface in different sections to the same level by opening or closing the 'gate'. Then, the ship could pass it very easily. There unique structures are considered to be 'Father of Ship Locks'in the world.

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