On June 22th, 2014, the 38th session of UNESCO World Heritage's committee announced the Grand Canal and part of the Silk Road as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Doha, Qatar. This announcement increased the amount of China's World Heritage Sites to 47.
The approved Grand Canal World Heritage Site consists of three parts, namely the part built in Sui and Tang Dynasty (581-907AD) (the Grand Canal of Sui and Tang Dynasty), the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal and the Eastern Zhejiang Grand Canel; the latter two were built in Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368AD) and extended in Ming and Qing Dynasty (1368-1840AD). The Grand Canal is the longest and largest manmade waterway in the world with a total length of 1,794 km covering 27 cities of 8 provinces across China. Experts said unlike historical buildings or ancient ruins, the Grand Canal is a ‘living and linear World Heritage Site' which is still in use.
Suzhou Ancient Canal, part of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal
Jointly submitted by China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, the Silk Road World Heritage Site involves the 5,000kms long highlight session of the ancient Silk Road that begins from Xi'an and ends in central Asia. The UNESCO World Heritage's committee believes that the Silk Road was an indispensable bridge of fusion, exchange and dialogue between East and West during 2nd to the 16th century, and made a great contribution for human being's common prosperity over the past 2,000 years. Many famous cultural landscapes in northwest China are included in the site, e.g. Han and Wei Dynasties' Ancient Luoyang City, Xi'an Weiyang Palace Site, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, Gaochang Ruins, Maijishan Grottoes and so on.
Gaochang Ruins in Xinjiang, once a busy trading center along the Silk Road