Língqú 灵渠 Magic Transport Canal

Main Entrance


10-11. Two views of the Lingqu within the Lingqu Scenic Spot.  A strong dyke along its north bank keeps the canal separated from the Xiang River below.

7-8.    Waters directed westward by the low dam (right) enter the Lingqu under a pedestrian bridge and through an opening that is just a few meters wide.

6. This photograph shows the shorter low dam with the "ploughshare" or "spade snout" in the middle-distance right.  Excess river water, moving from right to left, flows over the dam, back into its channel, and on north.  The pattern of rocks on the dam's surface is known as "fishscale".


3. The most important parts of the Lingqu are at or near its east end, where waters from the Xiang River are separated, with flow directed into the canal.   A birds-eye drawing looking west shows the ploughshare and the low dams where the canal begins at the Xiang River, flowing --- > left-to-right).

2. On the left (in blue-grey) is the Li River, flowing south into the Pearl River system; on the right (in blue) is the Xiang River, flowing north into the Yangtze River. The Língqú 灵渠 Magic Transport Canal (in purple) connects the two rivers along a contour between the two drainages.

4.  This photograph of the same area looking east shows the “ploughshare” or spade-snout, the stone-faced structure in the right foreground, separating the waters of the Xiang River (flowing <---right-to-left). The separated streams continue on to the angled low dams in the center left of the picture. Seventy percent (70%) of the river’s flow is sent to the north, “up” in the picture, into the Bei qu canal and thirty percent (30%) is sent into the Lingqu canal to the west “left” in the picture.  [ A third view of the "ploughshare',  from the north, is on Stamp #1, shown on the Home page. ]

14-15-16-17.  Scenes in and around the “village market” commercial area of Water Street in the town of  Xing’an.

18.  Weir gates at Shangnujing Brook along Water Street in Xing'an serve as a second balancing weir, sending additional excess water, if any, through the openings to the right and down the hill back into the Xiang River, further protecting the Língqú灵渠 Magic Transport Canal from flood damage.  [ The picturesque covered bridge over the canal is depicted in stamp #2 on the Home page. ]


12-13.  The first balancing weir protects the Lingqu by diverting excess water, during flood times, back into the Xiang River below the canal. These photographs were taken during low flow, so no water is going through the weir. In historic accounts, passengers on canal boats recorded the frightening scene of moving along the canal passing the top of the waterfall cascading down to the Xiang River. The weir, one of the original ingenious parts of the Lingqu, has kept the right amount of water flowing into the canal for over 2,200 years.  [ The weir is depicted in Stamp #2, shown on the Home page. ]

9.  In this photograph, looking west along the Língqú灵渠 Magic Transport Canal from thepedestrian bridge over its east entrance, it is difficult to picture soldiers, warships, and military supplies moving through here 2200 years ago.

5. Close-up of the ploughshare spade snout in the middle of the Xiang River, with the entrance to the Bei qu in the distance (middle right).  Because of the Lingqu's low dams, the Xiang River

is a lake

at low flow.


1. The Lingqu (pronounced “leen’-choo”) is far west of China’s famous Grand Canal, which connects the eastern cities of Beijing and Hangzhou through the lovely city of Suzhou. The Lingqu was built in southern China where tributaries of the Yangtze and the Pearl come close together, at the city of Xing’an, 50 kilometers north of what is today the city of Guilin in Guanxi Province.

Língqú Scenic Spot and Water Street, Xing'an

                                           All photos © 2014 Jim Stembridge and Peiru Xu