Panama Canal celebrates its first 100 years

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The one that splits the Central American isthmus in two is the canal by definition. And this year it's celebrating its first century.

Of course, the Panama Canal is not a destination in itself, but if you take a cruise from California to Florida or in any case the ship on which you are travelling passes from the Atlantic to the Pacific, you will have the chance to admire that immense monument of human work, which formally divides the American continent in two halves. If you do pass by, make sure you congratulate it because the Panama Canal, according to some the highest engineering work of the twentieth century, turns 100 years in 2014.

Indeed, it has been a century since, on 3 August 1914, the excavation and preparation of the sluices were completed. Because of the First World War though - which also celebrates a century in 2014 - the official inauguration had to be postponed to 1920.

In technical terms, the Panama Canal is:

a man-made canal that crosses the Isthmus of Panama. 81.1 km long including extensions into the sea, has a maximum depth of 12 meters, the width varies between 240 and 300 meters in Gatun Lake, and is 90-150 meters in the section of the Culebra Cut. The journey time is about 4/5 hours.

PHOTO GALLERY Panama Canal celebrates its first 100 years

In 2000 work began to enlarge the channel, adjusting it to the flow of goods and larger ships. But the doubling of the transoceanic waterway is proceeding slowly: only 70% of the work has been carried out and, while the planned completion cannot take place in 2014 as scheduled, the construction costs have risen alarmingly.

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