The 200-mile long Canal du Midi is a major feat of engineering that, along with the Canal de Garonne, joins the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. Built in the 16th century, the Canal could cut up to a month off of a sea trip from Northern to Southern Europe and helped avoid the pirates off the Spanish coast. The Canal was thus a very important shipping route and remained so until it was closed during a drought in 1989. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. It now serves primarily as a relic of Renaissance engineering, tourist attraction, and venue for rowing, canoeing, fishing, and cruises.