The Oudegracht is the canal that runs through the centre of Utrecht's Old Town and was the means by which the town traded. Unlike Amsterdam's canals the Oudegracht was built to carry the water at a much lower level than the town's streets themselves and during its building it was designed with this trade in mind. This involved the construction of canalside wharfs for the boats to load and unload and warehouses were built into the canal walls.
With modern road and rail transport these wharfs and storehouses became redundant for trading purposes and are now used as bars and restaurants. These bars and restaurants are accessible by wooden stairways which are fine for light deliveries (and of course for customer access) but for heavier deliveries the canal is still used.
The pic here is the InBev brewing company's dray which delivers the beer - quite a useful and probably pretty unique system.
Whilst the banks of the Oudegracht (Old Canal) are lined with atmospheric cafes and restaurants on the former waterside wharves and warehouses the Nieuwgracht is a more traditionally-built canal whose banks abut onto the city's streets.
There are however plenty of public benches and seating areas along the banks which are popular with local workers for enjoying an al fresco lunch when the sun's out. As you can see from the pic some prefer the shade whilst others prefer to sit in the sun.
The backdrop of the pic is the famous Dom Tower - the city's highest structure.
Canals!!! Yes, Utrecht has canals too! It is not only Amsterdam where you can find them. Actually, a lot of old Dutch cities have canals with the beautiful historic houses.
Something which is typical Dutch is people who are living on boats at the canals. Some boats are also used for prostitution but not in Utrecht I think.
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