During the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368-1912) in China, Huai’an City in Jiangsu Province was the hub of caoyun (a professional form of grain transport by water in ancient China) on the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, and, as a result, witnessed the hustle and bustle of commercial prosperity. Today’s Huai’an well preserves its history of grain transport as well as related cultural relics and historic sites, which become an important part of its modern urban society.

Situated at the north-central Jiangsu Province, Huai’an is historically renowned as one of the four major cities along the canal, together with Yangzhou, Suzhou, and Hangzhou. A realm of natural wonders and home to many famed figures, it is a place that boasts a distinctive geography and rich cultural heritage.

Caoyun is a professional form of grain transport system by water in ancient China (the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal was the most important waterway for transporting grain). Government grain was collected from different regions and shipped to the capital of Beijing along the canal. As one could imagine, if there were no canal or grain shipments, but only human and animal transport, all the government grain would have been consumed by the carriers along their way to the destination. The culture of grain transport plays an important role in the history of Huai’an. During the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the office of the Government-General of Grain Transport was located in Huai’an, which was the center of grain transport command, grain shipbuilding, and regional distribution of salt. Showcasing a history of thousands of years of grain transport, the China Water Transport Museum, Huai’an Government Office, and Zhenhuai Tower stand as the remaining relics to remind us of the memories of this city.




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