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National Archaeological Parks

The Grand Canal's Nanwang Hub National Archaeological Site Park

Updated: Jul 20, 2021 govt.chinadaily.com.cn Print
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The Grand Canal's Nanwang Hub National Archaeological Site Park
大运河南旺枢纽国家考古遗址公园

Address: Fuqian Avenue, Nanwang town, Wenshang county, Jining city, Shandong province
Hours: 9 am - 5 pm
General admission: Free

An aerial view of the Grand Canal's Nanwang Hub, with a museum dedicated to Grand Canal science and technologies in the background [Photos/www.sdta.cn]

The Nanwang Water Diversion Hub was built in 1411 by Song Li (1361-1422), the minister Works of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). He adopted the advice of Bai Ying (1363-1419), a rural hydraulic engineer in Wenshang county of Shandong.

Running through southwestern Shandong, the Grand Canal climbed up a high terrain in Nanwang area in the Wenshang county. The shallow water made barge navigation difficult, whereas the Dawen River flowing through the northern part of the county boasted ample water. Therefore, Song and Bai, taking advantage of the local geographic features, built the Daicun Dam on the Dawen River to stop its water from draining into the sea and dug a tunnel some 40 kilometers long to divert the water to the Grand Canal at Nanwang so as to elevate the water level and facilitate canal transportation.

The remains of the bed of the ancient Grand Canal at the park

Upon completion of the water diversion hub, a temple worshiping the Dragon King was built there during the Yongle period (1403-24) of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). During the following couple of centuries, structures kept being added around the temple. By the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) an architectural complex covering an area of over 56,000 square meters had been formed, made up of a theater stage and monasteries, shrines and temples worshiping various gods and deities. It boasts a neat and harmonious layout with different styles and is a paragon of the temple architecture of the Ming and Qing dynasties.

Centered on the Nanwang water diversion hub, and a foremost national protected heritage site, the park is also home to several nearby sluice gates that have played a crucial role in maintaining sound transportation on the Grand Canal.

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