Ling Canal, situated at north of Xing' an, is 58 kilometers far from Guilin. It is 34 km long. It is the oldest canal in the world.
The Ling Canal was built in the 214 BC of Qin Dynasty. It consists of a plough share, a water diversion dam, a south canal and a north canal, a spillway as well as boat lock, the canal was scientifically designed and constructed. The plough shares just out into the Xiang River and divide the water into 30 and 70 percent. Passing through the north canal, the major part of the water joins again the Xiang River, while the rest flows into the south canal (namely the Ling Canal) and then empties itself in Li River. The Ling Canal connected the two water systems of Yangtze River and the Pear River, thus playing a great historical role in the unification of China and the consolidation of the southern frontier areas.
The canal was once an important means of transports serving the region before railways and roads were constructed. This canal still serves purposes by irrigating about 2700 hectare of agricultural land.
This canal connects the Xiang River of Hunan Province with the Gui River of Guangxi. The first flows northward toward the Yangtze River and the latter southward toward the China Sea.
It is possible to sail from Guangzhou by traveling up the Xi and Gui Rivers to this canal and passing through it, proceed down the Xiang River to the Yangtze, hence to the Grand Canal and even as far as Peiping without getting off the boat.
In bygone days before railroads and motor highways, this elaborate canal was of great assistance to China's transport and unity. Construction was started two centuries before Christ and was a farsighted project of the great Emperor Chin Shi Huang Ti, who built China's Great Wall.