Grand Canal, also called Jing-Hang Yunhe ("Beijing-Hangzhou Canal"), is series of waterways in eastern and northern China that link Hangzhou in Zhejiang province with Beijing. Some 1,800 km in length, it is the world's longest man-made waterway. The oldest parts of the canal date back to the 5th century BC, although the various sections were finally combined during the Sui Dynasty (581 AD–618 AD). It was built to enable successive Chinese regimes to transport surplus grain from the agriculturally rich Yangtze River and Huai River valleys to feed the capital cities and large standing armies in northern China.
The section of Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal in Jiangsu province is 628 kilometers in length. Of which the North Jiangsu – Middle Jiangsu Canal with a length of four hundred and four thousand meters and it is the busiest transportation section in Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal; Sunan Canal, with a length 224 km, runs through the most economically developed Yangzhou, Changzhou, Zhenjiang, Wuxi, Suzhou and other cities and counties in Jiangsu, is the largest volume and one of the highest density section in the Grand Canal.
The ancient city of Suzhou was the paradise for all merchants owing to the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal; even to this day, about half of the volume of goods is transported by waterway through the Grand Canal. The boats (especially paddle boats) on the ancient Grand Canal are absolutely one of the best ways to appreciate the beauty of typical ancient river towns in south region of Yangtze River. Along the way, there are 10 ancient city gates of Suzhou, more than 20 stone bridges in diverse styles of traditional designs, ancient river town dwellings and historical relics; and the gorgeous lighting adds more glamour to the night boating of the Grand Canal. In addition, during the journey, visitors can also learn the historical stories, local customs, and enjoy good food of local flavors when appreciating the surrounding landscapes.
On June 22, 2014, the Grand Canal was inscribed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO. It become the 46th World Heritage Site of China.