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Canal du Midi

Canal du Midi

This 360-km network of navigable waterways linking the Mediterranean and the Atlantic through 328 structures (locks, aqueducts, bridges, tunnels, etc.) is one of the most remarkable feats of civil engineering in modern times. Built between 1667 and 1694, it paved the way for the Industrial Revolution. The care that its creator, Pierre-Paul Riquet, took in the design and the way it blends with its surroundings turned a technical achievement into a work of art.

Canal du Midi

Avec ses 360 km navigables assurant la liaison entre la Méditerranée et l'Atlantique et ses 328 ouvrages (écluses, aqueducs, ponts, tunnels, etc) le réseau du canal du Midi, réalisé entre 1667 et 1694, constitue l'une des réalisations de génie civil les plus extraordinaires de l'ère moderne, qui ouvrit la voie à la révolution industrielle. Le souci de l'esthétique architecturale et des paysages créés qui anima son concepteur, Pierre-Paul Riquet, en fit non seulement une prouesse technique, mais aussi une œuvre d'art.

قناة ميدي

إنّ شبكة قناة ميدي التي تمتد على مساحة 360 كيلومتراً للملاحة تؤمن التواصل ما بين البحر المتوسط ولمحيط االأطلسي فيهاو328 منشأة بين هويسات القناة، وقنوات مياه، وجسور، وأنفاق، والتي تمّ وضعها بين عامي 1667 و1694. و تشكّل القناة إحدى أبرز وألمع الإنجازات التي حققتها الهندسة المدنية في العصر الحالي، ومهدت الطريق أمام الثورة الصناعية. لم يكن عمل بيير-بول ريكيه الذي حمل همَّ التجميل الهندسي واللوحات الطبيعية المبتكرة ذا إقدام تقني فحسب، بل كان أيضا ابتكارا فنيا لا مثيل له.

source: UNESCO/ERI

米迪运河

运河总长360公里,各类船只通过运河在地中海和大西洋间穿梭往来,整个航运水系涵盖了船闸、沟渠、桥梁、隧道等328个大小不等的人工建筑,创造了世界现代史上最辉煌的土木工程奇迹。运河建于1667年至1694年之间,为工业革命开辟了道路。运河设计师皮埃尔-保罗·德里凯(Pierre-Paul Riquet)在设计上独具匠心,使运河与周边环境融为了一体,实现了技术上的突破,堪称建筑佳作。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Каналь-Дю-Миди (Южный канал)

Благодаря 328 шлюзам, акведукам, мостам, и туннелям, эта 360-километровая сеть предназначенных для судоходства водных путей, соединяющих Средиземноморье с Атлантикой, является одним из самых замечательных шедевров гражданской инженерии Нового времени. Построенный в 1667-1694 гг., канал открыл дорогу промышленной революции. Внимание, которое его создатель, Пьер-Поль Рике, уделил дизайну и обеспечению гармонии с окружением, превратили это техническое сооружение в настоящее произведение искусства.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Canal del Midi

Construida entre 1667 y 1694, esta red de 360 km de canales navegables enlaza el Mediterráneo y el Atlántico gracias a 328 obras de ingeniería diversas: esclusas, acueductos, puentes, túneles, etc. Es una de las realizaciones de la ingeniería civil más extraordinarias de la era moderna, precursora de la Revolución Industrial. El interés por la estética arquitectónica y paisajística que animó al autor del proyecto, Pierre-Paul Riquet, hizo de este canal una proeza técnica y una auténtica obra de arte.

source: UNESCO/ERI

ミディ運河

source: NFUAJ

Canal du Midi

Canal du Midi is een uitzonderlijk voorbeeld van een ontworpen landschap. Het 360 kilometer lange netwerk van bevaarbare waterwegen, is een van de meest opmerkelijke prestaties van civiele techniek in de moderne tijd. Het verbindt de Middellandse Zee en de Atlantische Oceaan door middel van 328 bouwwerken zoals sluizen, aquaducten, bruggen en tunnels. Tussen 1667 en 1694 werd het aangelegd en maakte de weg vrij voor de Industriële Revolutie. De zorg die de maker van het Canal – Pierre-Paul Riquet – besteedde aan zijn ontwerp en de manier waarop het een eenheid vormt met zijn omgeving, maakten van een technische prestatie een kunstwerk.

Source: unesco.nl

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Justification for Inscription

The Committee decided to inscribe the nominated property on the basis of cultural criteria (i), (ii), (iv) and (vi) considering that the site is of outstanding universal value being one of the greatest engineering achievements of the Modern Age, providing the model for the flowering of technology that led directly to the Industrial Revolution and the modern technological age. Additionally, it combines with its technological innovation a concern for high aesthetic architectural and landscape design that has few parallels. The Committee endorsed the inscription of this property as the Canal du Midi clearly is an exceptional example of a designed landscape

Long Description

The Canal du Midi is one of the greatest engineering achievements of the modern age, providing the model for the flowering of technology that led directly to the Industrial Revolution and the modern technological age. It represents a significant period in European history, that of the development of water transport as a result of mastery of hydraulic civil engineering. It combines with its technological innovation a concern for high aesthetic architectural and landscape design that has few parallels.

Investigations into the possibilities of creating canals joining the major natural waterways began in the early 16th century, when François I brought Leonardo da Vinci with him on his return to France. One of their projects envisaged linking the Garonne and the Aude rivers, and thus the Mediterranean with the Atlantic. The first successful enterprise was the Canal de Briaré, joining the Loire and the Seine, which was completed in 1642. Solution of the technical problems involved rekindled interest in the Mediterranean-Atlantic link and a number of projects were put forward. It was to become a reality thanks to a very favourable political climate in France at the time, and also to the availability of Pierre-Paul Riquet, who began work on the project in 1654. He considered a number of possible routes to link the Garonne with the Aude and to surmount the watershed between the two rivers at Naurouze, which presented special problems of water supply. He enlisted the aid of local expert: Pierre Campmas, who was responsible for the water supply of the town of Revel, at the foot of the Montagne-Noire massif, Francois Andreossy, a civil engineer specializing in hydraulic projects, and Jean-Baptiste Colbert, at that time Intendant des Finances for Louis XIV, who was tireless in his efforts to encourage the creation of industries in France.

Colbert quickly realized the importance of the proposed canal in this connection, and he gave his full support to Riquet's project. A Royal Edict announcing the construction of the canal was issued in October 1666 and letters-patent were granted to Riquet; however, this authorized him to construct only the western section, between the Garonne at Toulouse and the Aude at Trèbes. He was authorized to construct the second section, between Trèbes and Sète on the Mediterranean coast, in 1669.

The project underwent many vicissitudes and financial crises in the years that followed, but it was largely completed when Riquet died in 1681. Following persistent complaints about the flooding of neighbouring agricultural land, the great military architect Vauban was sent to the Canal; as a result of his report a number of aqueducts were built and the Saint-Ferréol dam was raised in height. The final elements of the entire system were completed in 1694.

There are five components of this property, and the total length of the waterway is 360 km. The main Canal du Midi runs from Toulouse to the Étang de Thau on the Mediterranean coast at Marseillan; there is a branch between Moussan and Port-la-Nouvelle, incorporating part of the earlier Canal de la Robine. The waters of the Montagne-Noire are brought to the canal through two channels that join together and flow into the Canal at Naurouze. The canal de Saint-Pierre is the link between the main canal and the Garonne at Toulouse. Finally, there is a short section joining the Hérault River to the round lock at Agde. The ensemble contains 328 works of art - locks, aqueducts, bridges, spillways, tunnels, etc. One of its most noteworthy features is the Saint-Ferréol dam on the Laudot River in the Montagne-Noire region. This is the largest project on the entire canal and the greatest work of civil engineering of its time, Riquet was conscious that he was creating a symbol of the power of 17th-century France as well as a functional communication waterway. He was assiduous, therefore, in ensuring that the quality of the architecture on the Canal was worthy of this role. The bridges, the locks and their associated structures, and the tunnel entrances were therefore designed with monumental dignity and simplicity. He was also very conscious of the impact of his work on the landscape, and took great pains to ensure that it was suitably framed by trees and plantations that harmonized with the landscape through which it passed.

Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
Historical Description

Investigations into the possibilities of creating canals joining the major natural waterways began in the early 16tn century, when François I brought Leonardo da Vinci with him on his return to France. One of their projects envisaged linking the Garonne and the Aude rivers, and thus the Mediterranean with the Atlantic. The first successful enterprise was the canal de Briare, joining the Loire and the Seine, which was completed in 1642. Solution of the technical problerns involved rekindled interest in the Mediterranean-Atlantic link and a number of projects were put forward. lt was to become a reality thanks to a very favourable political climate in France at the time, and aIso to the availability of an exceptional man, with the vision and determination to see a project on this scale through to completion.

Pierre-Paul Riquet was 50 when he began work on the project in 1654. He considered a number of possible routes to link the Garonne with the Aude and surmount the watershed between the two rivers at Naurouze, which presented special problems of water supply. He enlisted the a id of local experts, notably Pierre Campmas, who was responsible for the water supply of the town of Revel, at the foot of the Montagne Noire massif. He also recruited François Andreossy, a civil engineer specializing in hydraulic projects.

In 1662 Riquet secured a powerful supporter in Jean-Baptiste Colbert, at that time Intendant des Finances for Louis XIV, who was tireless in his efforts to encourage the creation of industries in France. Colbert quickly realized the importance of the proposed canal in this connection, and he gave his full support to Riquet's project. He also imparted his enthusiasm to the king, who saw it as imparting more lustre to his reign. A Royal commission was set up to study the technical and financial viability of the project and, following its favourable report, letters patent were granted to Riquet in May 1665 to excavate a narrow watercourse over the entire route, which demonstrated that water could be raised sufficiently to cross the watershed at Naurouze. The project was to be financed on a tripartite basis, from the Royal Treasurv, the Province of Languedoc, and Riquet himself. The Treasury funds would be used for purchasing the land over which the canal would pass and those from the province for the works themselves. Management of the completed canal and use of the eventual revenue was assigned to the entrepreneur and his successors. A Royal Edict announcing the construction of the canal was issued in October 1666 and letters-patent were granted to Riquet; however, this authorized him to construct only the western section, between the Garonne at Toulouse and the Aude at Trèbes. The work was to be completed in eight years and 3.36 million livres were allocated for the project. He was authorized to construct the second section, between Trèbes and Sète, on the Mediterranean coast, in 1669.

Two thousand workers were engaged for the project in January 1667; this number was to reach a peak of twelve thousand, including six hundred women brought in to make up for a shortage of male workers. They were divided into twelve divisions, each under the control of an inspecteur général, and further divided into squads of fifty people under a foreman.

The project underwent many vicissitudes and financial crises in the years that followed, but it was largely completed when Riquet died in 1681. Following persistent complaints about the flooding of neighbouring agricultural land, the great military architect Vauban was sent to the canal; as a result of his report a number of aqueducts were built and the Saint-Ferréol dam was raised in height. The final elements of the entire system were completed in 1694. Its total cost was over fifteen million livres, exceeding the original estimates by some 70%, which was not unreasonable given the number of unexpected problems that arose. Ancillary works carried out subsequently were the canal de Saint-Pierre (or canal de Brienne) at Toulouse and the canal de Jonction to serve the canal de Robine and Narbonne (1768-87) and the canal-bridge on the Orb (1854-57).

Source: Advisory Body Evaluation