The Panama Canal, a modern wonder

A mammoth work of engineering and considered one of the greatest modern wonders of the world, the Panama Canal celebrates its official centennial

August 2014 • Jules Verne

The Panama Canal, a modern wonder

August 15th, 2014, saw the Panama Canal celebrate a century of operations connecting the world. One of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken, the Panama Canal greatly reduced the time for ships to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, enabling them to avoid the lengthy, hazardous Cape Horn route around the southernmost tip of South America.

Panama Canal (left); Panama Canal Railway (right)
Construction of the canal was started by the French in 1881, taken over by American interests in 1904 and officially opened on August 15th, 1914. The U.S. ran the canal until 1999, when the Panama Canal Authority took over operations.

Stretching about 50 miles and connecting the Caribbean with the Pacific oceans, over 1 million vessels crossed through the canal since its opening, and around 40 ships still pass through every day.

To witness the canal is unforgettable. But apart from the practical nature of the canal, it is in itself an awesome sight, best appreciated by our train journey alongside its banks but also passing through dense rainforests and fascinating flora.

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