The Panama Canal is the world's greatest shortcut and one of the engineering wonders of our time. Its 50 miles in length connect the Atlantic and Pacific oceans through the narrowest portion of the Americas. Although the idea of its construction dates all the way back to the 16th century, it was at the end of the 19th century when a French company made the first attempt to excavate it but to no avail. In 1904, the United States took over the project and was able to complete it in 1914. Its inauguration was possible thanks to the work of more than 75,000 men and women who worked for 10 years facing unprecedented challenges; a feat that was emulated a century later when new locks were built to accommodate larger ships. Throughout its history, more than 900,000 vessels have transited the Canal to bring commerce, cultures and people from all corners of the world closer together. Today this marvel of technology can be discovered in two visitor centers complete with observation decks, exhibits, and screening rooms. One at the Miraflores locks, closer to the capital; and another at the new Agua Clara locks, 25 minutes from the city of Colon.
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