One of the main attractions of the city of Amsterdam is its water canals of the seventeenth century, of which there are about 200 (two hundred !!!) pieces. The total length of water canals in Amsterdam is about 80 kilometers, on which more than 1,500 bridges are built, and also along which about 90 islands are located. That is why the capital and largest city of the Netherlands is rightly called the Second Venice or Northern Venice. These water rings make Amsterdam one of the most unique cities in Europe, and in 2010 the water canals of Amsterdam were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Amsterdam has the four most important water canals - Singel, Herengracht, Kaisersgracht and Prinsengracht. They are located almost parallel to each other and take an interesting crescent shape. It is worth noting that in the area of the three largest canals of Amsterdam (except Singel), housing prices are horrendously high, and real estate ownership in these places is a measure of prestige, social status and success for Dutch citizens.
Water canals of Amsterdam.
Singel is a water channel located closest to the center of Amsterdam, and therefore it is the smallest and oldest, artificially created, water area of the city. This is a former defensive ditch, dug in 1428 around the already existing walls of the old city. The single is the Dutch name for the water canal that surrounds the city, and Gracht is the sewer and transport canals in the city. Canals, on the other hand, are for Dutch large man-made waterways that connect rivers and seas. So, in fact, there are no canals in Amsterdam.
The slightly larger water area of Amsterdam - Herengracht, that is, the Lords canal (Dutch. Herengracht ), indicates the richest part of the Dutch capital. Herengracht was named after the regents who ruled Amsterdam in the 17th century. On the embankments of the Heerengracht canal there are small two- and three-story mansions with courtyards, and its elite part has the unspoken name “Golden Bend” (Dutch Gouden Bocht)
Since Amsterdam was a republic in the past, the next two even larger canals, Keysersgracht and Prinsengracht, built in the 17th century, are named after the Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian I ( Keizersgracht - Imperial Canal) and Prince William I of Orange ( Prinsengracht - Prince Channel).
Other small canals of Amsterdam, such as the Lily Canal, Brewers and many others, also have their own unique history of origin and development. These waterways themselves create a unique atmosphere and are reinforced by charming bridges, benches and elegant apartment buildings glued together. To fully reveal their charm, you need to go for a long walk along the canals or swim through them.
Thanks to the canals, Amsterdam is a unique city not only in Europe, but throughout the world. Channel rings, like a web, appeared and grew as the city developed. The influx of Jews expelled from Portugal (1497), and then Protestant refugees from Antwerp (1577), contributed to the rapid development of the city. The effect was of the seventeenth century - the golden age of the Netherlands and Amsterdam.
For its greatest glory in the 17th century, Amsterdam grew to 200,000 inhabitants and became one of the most important and largest cities in Europe. At that time, there were just as many people as in London, Paris and Naples. The city of Amsterdam expanded rapidly and the number of canals also increased quickly.
Why are there so many water channels in Amsterdam?
Amsterdam, like many Dutch cities, stands on very wet ground, almost in a swamp. To live there with dry legs, it was necessary to build embankments, dams and drainage channels. Canals carried out drainage, sanitary, transport and defensive functions in the city, that is, they were much more useful than streets and roads.
The word "canal" is hardly the right word. In Dutch, this is called "gracht", which translates better as a moat than a canal. By definition, it is an urban canal with a built-up embankment. The oldest “gracht (Oudezijds Voorburgwal)” dates back to 1385.
Amsterdam has 165 canals with a total length of 75 km. The word "gracht" comes from the Dutch word, "graft" (graven) or dig.
Coat of arms of Amsterdam is three crosses of St. Andrew, one below the other, the same crosses are on the flag of the city, they are depicted there horizontally. The meaning of these crosses is not clear, but historians suspect that they symbolize the three misfortunes that fell on Amsterdam - water, fire and the plague.
Without a doubt, any tourist will be interested in visiting such an unusual place as Amsterdam, seeing and exploring the history of Holland, as well as the culture, traditions and customs of this small European country. Amsterdam attracts a huge number of people with its unusualness, diversity, uniqueness and beauty. Tourism has a very positive impact on the economy of the city and the whole kingdom of the Netherlands. About four million tourists from all over the world visit Amsterdam every year and this number is constantly growing.
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