THE GREAT AMERICAN VACATION
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Coastal Jiangsu is defined by water. This eastern province is crossed by one of the world's great rivers, the mystical Yangtze, and has a coastline stretching hundreds of miles along the Yellow Sea. Jiangsu is also home to the Grand Canal, an ancient feat of engineering. This massive waterway, the longest ancient canal in the world, with some parts dating from the 5th century BC, allowed merchants
to ship the province's plentiful rice, vegetables, and tea to the north. Within the cities, daily life was historically tied to the water, and many old neighborhoods are still crisscrossed by countless small canals.
As a result of its trading position, Jiangsu has long been an economic and political center of China. The founder of the Ming Dynasty established the capital in Nanjing, and it remained there until his son moved it back north to Beijing. Even after the move, Nanjing and Jiangsu retained their nationwide importance. After the 1911 revolution, the province once again hosted the nation's capital in Nanjing.
Planning a trip in the province is remarkably easy. The cities are close together and connected by many buses and trains. Autumn tends to be warm and dry, with ideal walking temperatures. Spring can be rainy and windy, but the hills burst with blooms. Summers are infamously oppressive, hot, and humid. The winter is mild, but January and February are often rainy.
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