Canals and shipyards
The Utrecht canals with their wharves and wharf cellars are unique in the world.
The 12th Century Oudegracht was built to change the course of the Oude Rijn river. Connecting the river Vecht in the north to the Vaartsche Rijn in the south, the Oudegracht was destined to become an elongated harbour. Large city castles were built along the canal and in the 13th Century, shipyards were built as second streets at water level. The deep cellars, serving as storage spaces, ran through to below the houses. Today, the canals and shipyards are home to shops, restaurants and private residences.