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Mount Qingcheng and the Dujiangyan Irrigation System
Site number:
Type of site: Cultural
Date: 3rd century BC.
Date of Inscription: 2000
Location: Asia, China, Dujiangyan City, Sichuan Province
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Description: The Dujiangyan irrigation system’s construction began in the 3rd century B.C. and to this day controls the waters of the Minjiang River, distributing it to the Chengdu plains’ fertile farmland. Mount Qingcheng was the origin of Taoism, which is celebrated in a number of ancient temples. --WHMNet paraphrase from the description at WHC Site, where additional information is available. For 360 degree imaging of this site, click here.
  Dujiangyan is an irrigation infra-structure built in 256 BC during the Warring States Period of China by the Kingdom of Qin. It is located in the Min River (岷江, Mǐn jiāng) in Sichuan Province, China near the capital Chengdu (成都, Chéngdu). It is still in use today and still irrigates over 5,300 square kilometers of land in the region. Prior to its construction devastating annual floods plagued the people living by the Min River. Qin official Li Bing (李冰,lǐ bīng), who was sent to Chengdu as its magistrate, decided to do something about this. He investigated the river with some locals, and familiarizing himself with the land forms and water flows, found the source of the water. He discovered that the waters melted from Mount Min at the beginning of each summer, flowing into the Min River and eventually flooding the farms. Li Bing decided to divide the river into two streams, allowing one stream to continue on its normal course, while the other stream would flow into the farmer's fields. But there was one big problem. The Yulei 'Mountain' (a rocky hill) blocked the way to the Chengdu Plain. He had to break a path through the hill. The rock was too hard to break. So he had men throw wood and grass on the rocks and set it on fire, and then pour cold water over it. This made the hard rock crack so the men could remove it. This labor took 7 years and they finally made an opening through the hill to the plains that is 20 meters (65 feet) wide. After the system was finished, no more floods occurred. The irrigation made Sichuan the most productive agricultural place in China. Li Bing was loved so much that he became a god to the people there. On the east side of Dujiangyan, people built a shrine in remembrance of Li Bing. Today, Dujiangyan has become a major tourist attraction. It is also the admiration of scientists around the world, because it has one ingenious feature. Unlike contemporary dams where the water is blocked with a huge wall, Dujiangyan still lets water go through naturally. Modern dams do not let fish go through very well, since each dam is a wall and the water levels are different. In 2000, Dujiangyan became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. --Wikipedia. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. For 360 degree imaging of this site, click here.
Reference: 1. UNESCO World Heritage Center, Site Page. 2. Ching-chih Chen's Global Memory Net.
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