Yangzhou Grand Canal 古運河

The Grand Canal is one of the greatest engineering feats of the ancient world. Completed in the 7th century, The Grand Canal stretched all the way to Beijing to Hangzhou- a distance of over 1700 kms. Unlike the Great Wall, this canal was actually an unqualified success too, stimulating trade throughout Eastern China. In 2014, the Grand Canal was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List

Modern mural depicting Sui Dynasty Emperor Yang

The sections of the Grand Canal today in Zhejiang and southern Jiangsu provinces were in large part a creation of the Sui dynasty (581–618), a result of the migration of China’s core economic and agricultural region away from the Yellow River valley in the north and toward the southern provinces. Its main role throughout its history was the transport of grain to the capital. The institution of the Grand Canal by the Qin dynasty and the Sui dynasty, mostly the Sui, also obviated the need for the army to become self-sufficient farmers while posted at the northern frontier, as food supplies could now easily be shipped from south to north over the pass.

Willows along the river
Willows along the river
Old English Import Company, brought in milled flour.
Cruising down the canal
Puhaddin Grave

Here lies the grave of the 16th descendant of the Prophet Mohammed called Puhaddin 普哈丁 and its now a protected monument. On the grave is a functioning mosque. Instead of the minaret, it uses a Jiangnan architecture curved octagon roof that faced Mecca.

He came to China and spread the faith between 1265-74 during the Late Song Dynasty. He passed away in Yangzhou and was buried here.

He was one of the first to spread the Islamic faith, and notable Muslims in China included Hai Rui 海瑞, a Song Dynasty official, and of course Zheng He 郑和, Ming dynasty. And one of the reason Zheng wanted to do the haj, he pushed the Ming navy to sail all the way to Middle East and basically solidify the Marine Silk Route

Site of the first mosque in Yangzhou

Site of one of the oldest mosque in the world. If they can be tolerant of religion freedom in the 7th century, how can we all be so backwards in these modern times!

The mosque was built in Ming dynasty next to the tomb and expanded to the currrent size and form during Qing dynasty. It was briefly dismantled during the cultural revolution and then restored in the 80s by Chinese Muslims.


Ming dynasty walls
Ming dynasty walls


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  1. Pingback: Yangzhou Beautiful in March – live2makan

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