A canal is an artificial waterway or a waterway. Small canals were used to irrigate soil very early in human history, and at the time of the Roman Empire, the engineers at that time built impressive viaducts all over the then giant empire to ensure the water supply. Around the same time, but in a completely different area of the world, the first canals were used to transport people and goods.
For thousands of years, waterways were the most important connections between trade centers on all continents of the world. First only the natural rivers and straits, then also man-made canals. These artificial waterways are divided into so-called sea channels and river channels. From a technical point of view, the difference is that sea channels have been set up to connect oceans across isthmus and to offer an abbreviation for mostly ocean-going ships. The other form of the canals was built for inland navigation and is accordingly equipped with a shallower draft.
However, there are also mixed channels that in principle connect rivers inland with one another, but at the same time also allow the transport of commercial goods from one sea to another. A good example of this is the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal, which connects the Dutch port city with the Rhine, as well as the Main-Danube Canal and the Danube-Black Sea Canal. Three canal structures, with the help of which a gigantic waterway from the North Sea to the Black Sea was built over the Rhine, the Main and the Danube and together they cover a distance of 3500 km.
It is not possible to define exactly which canal is the largest in the world, since the amounts of water that flow through the canals vary depending on the width and depth of the canals and, in turn, give a value with the length of the canal. As a result, only the length of the individual canal remains, i.e. a building constructed by human hands without natural river sections.
The following channels listed here can claim to be the ten longest channels in the world, sorted in ascending order.
10th place: Amsterdam-Rhine Canal, Netherlands, 72.4 km.
It starts with the aforementioned connection path between the Waal, an arm of the Rhine in the delta of the Rhine on the North Sea, and the port city of Amsterdam. The Amsterdam-Rhine Canal was opened in 1952
9th place: Panama Canal, Panama, 81.3 km.
Although probably the most famous and most important channel in the world, together with the Suez Canal, the Panama Canal is only eighth in terms of length. The structure, which opened in 1914, connects the Atlantic with the Pacific and saves sea-going vessels the way around the notorious Cape Horn. Every year around 14,300 ships pass through the canal.
8th: Houston Canal, USA, 91.2 km.
The Houston Ship Channel is a channel built mainly for the oil industry between the Texas city and the Gulf of Mexico. The canal was opened to freight traffic as early as 1836.
7th place: Kiel Canal, Germany, 98.7. To connect the
North Sea and the Baltic Sea via the isthmus in northern Germany and to save the seagoing ships 460 km detour via the Skagerrak was realized for the first time in 1784. Today, the waterway known internationally as the Kiel Canal is the most used artificial waterway in the world. Every year around 32,000 ships travel the Kiel Canal.
6th place: Volga-Don shipping canal, Russia, 101 km.
The Volga-Don Canal connects the Caspian and Black Seas via the two large Russian rivers Volga and Don. The waterway was inaugurated in 1952.
5th place: Moscow Canal, Russia, 128 km.
Peter the Great already thought of an artificial waterway between the Moscow River flowing through Moscow and the Volga, in order to establish a seaworthy connection to the Caspian Sea. The canal was only built in 1937.
4th place: Suez Canal, Egypt, 193.3 km.
Historically, the planning and construction of the Suez Canal, which connects the Mediterranean with the Indian Ocean, is associated with countless adventures and political turmoil.
Today, the canal saves sea-going vessels traveling from Europe or the east coast of America to Asia the huge detour via the Cape of Good Hope on the southern tip of Africa. The “only” 162.3 km long waterway in its original length without feeder channels was opened in 1869.
3rd place: Sankt-Lorenz-Seeweg, Canada / USA, 204 km.
The Sankt-Lorenz-Seeweg connects the great American lakes and the North Atlantic. This 204 km long canal opens up an inland route far into the interior of the USA and Canada. A total of 3700 km. The canal was built between 1951 and 1959.
2nd place: White Sea-Baltic Canal, Russia, 227 km.
The second longest canal in the world is located in Russia and actually consists of several sections with lakes and rivers in between. Nevertheless, it is an overall planning structure. In 1933, the first ships sailed the canal from the White Sea in northwest Russia to the Baltic Sea. This created a waterway from Saint Petersburg to the Barents Sea, which allowed freight traffic without the detour across the North Atlantic.
1st place: Imperial Canal, China, 2000 km.
China is not only the longest, but also the oldest, navigable canal in the world. The first sections of this gigantic building were built around 2500 years ago. Known as the Imperial Canal, the waterway connects the capital Beijing with the fertile north and flows into the Yangtze River, the yellow river. In addition to the Great Wall, the Imperial Canal is the most important building in China.