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Tang Dynasty: Travel and Transportation

Tang Dynasty: Travel and Transportation

Traveling during the Tang Dynasty was for the most part arduous, dangerous and time consuming. It could take up many months for government officials to travel from their current assignment to the next one.

The most common mode of transportation was the shank’s mare. By walking and/or using the mare one could hope to cover up to about 17 miles per day. A long shoulder pole with two baskets was commonly used to carry cargo. For the wealthy and well-connected, litter travel with servants carrying chairs and canopies could be utilized. In the northern regions, camels were used along the Silk Road and by the military.

At this time the government had from 180,000 to 240,000 horses. The Chinese road system covered about 13,500 miles. Most of the roads were in the north, and were rammed earth constructed with many major highways having been lined by low walls and trees.

Travel and transportation on rivers was widespread and relatively efficient, especially for longer distances. China had completed their Grand Canal which ran from Beijing in the north to Hangzhou in the south which was completed in the middle of the Sui Dynasty (581-618). Boats were of many different sizes and capacities. Short trips and most ferries were propelled using oars, while longer distances used sailboats. Therefore wind patterns and velocities were a critical component of river travel. Virtually all rivers in China flow from west to east. Traveling from east to west and thus upstream often required either skilled sailing techniques and/or and a team of workers pulling the boat along from one or both riverbanks. Rising and falling river levels, local currents, rapids and slow pools were also present to help or impede travel.

未经允许不得转载:STUDY IN CHINA GLOBAL (SCG) » Tang Dynasty: Travel and Transportation
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