Suzhou calls in the experts to advise on the Grand Canal Cultural Belt

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By: freemexy
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URBAN planning experts from home and abroad are to help Suzhou with its part in constructing a culture belt along the Grand Canal.To get more Suzhou City news, you can visit shine news official website.

They are in the city attending a weeklong workshop that started yesterday for a field survey of the watercourse and its scenic spots, and the city’s culture.

After that, members of the Urban Planning Advisory Team Workshop, including Martin Dubbeling, president of the International Society of City and Regional Planners, Wu Jiang, executive vice president of Tongji University, and a number of domestic and foreign experts in waterfront design, redevelopment, heritage and conservation, urban renewal and delta urbanism will offer their advice on the construction of the Grand Canal National Culture Park (Jiangsu section) in which Suzhou will play an important role.

The Grand Canal, running through 18 cities from Beijing to Hangzhou, links five of China’s main river basins and is the world’s longest man-made waterway. It was once the lifeblood of ancient China.

A large artery carrying the nation’s cultural genes, the canal belongs to the old days, but it is also for today and the future. Along the canal, there are not only numerous historic and cultural relics, and many revolutionary sites, but it also paints a picture of socialist construction and achievements in reform and opening-up.

The Grand Canal is the source that nourishes Chinese culture as well as the source of strength of the Chinese people’s self-confidence.

The Suzhou section flows across the city’s downtown area and could date back to the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC). The city’s culture and economy have prospered because of the canal. Even today, thousands of boats make the Suzhou section the busiest in the entire waterway.

It connects north and south and is the foundation of 1,000 years of Suzhou’s cultural prosperity. That’s why Suzhou has such an important role to play in the forthcoming construction.It has five former watercourses and seven heritage sites closely related to the canal and nine classic gardens on the UNESCO World Heritage list. It also has six items on the World Intangible Cultural Heritage list, such as Kunqu Opera and Chinese instrument guqin, with ties to the canal.

Suzhou is a city that has flourished because of the Grand Canal.President Xi Jinping has emphasized that its protection is a common responsibility of all regions along its length.

Beijing, Tianjin and Suzhou’s sisters in Jiangsu Province — Yangzhou, Changzhou, Zhenjiang, Huai’an and Xuzhou — have already mapped out their own blueprints for cultural belt construction. Suzhou, with its exclusive historical and cultural resources, feels it has a “glorious mission” to build the “best part” of the canal’s cultural belt.“We should systematically promote the work with a cultural vision and in accordance with the laws of culture,” said Zhou Naixiang, Party secretary of Suzhou.

“Along the Suzhou section of the Grand Canal, there are not only a large number of tangible cultural heritages, but also a large number of intangible cultural heritages,” he said.Zhou vowed to accelerate construction of a Grand Canal museum cluster, promote the revitalization of traditional handicrafts, strengthen the planning of literary and artistic works about the canal, and create a number of masterpieces reflecting its culture.

Meanwhile, the development of traditional industries, such as silk, embroidery, jade carving and mahogany furniture, is also on the agenda, together with the construction of creative industries along the canal.The construction of the cultural belt is a project that involves waterway transport, heritage protection, cultural heritage, ecological building and economic development.

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