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Chang Jiang

an Aerial View

Coursing over a distance of 6,380 kilometers, the mighty Chang Jiang, meaning "Long River", is the longest river in China and Asia and the third longest in the world after the Amazon in South America and the Nile in Africa. Also called the Yangtze River, it is like the Huang He in that it is a cradle of the ancient Chinese people.

The Yangtze, arising in Tibet in the glaciers and snow-covered mountains of the "Roof of the World", the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, and fed by hundreds of tributaries, wanders eastward across the mainland of China. It makes an incessant rush to Shanghai and empities into the East China Sea. The enormous and inexhaustible hydroelectric resources of the Yangtze, producing no waste gases, no waste water, nor waste residues, is superior to oilfields and coalfields and therefore is considered the "King" of all energies capable of generating huge profits with a minimum input. From its source to its estuary, the Yangtze River meanders over 6,300 kilometers. Its annual runoff is up to 268 million kilometers.

Passing many of the large and important cities of China, the river has been an important trade and transportation route since ancient times. The major cities through which the Yangtze River flows are (east to west):

a Yangtze River Bridge

Jiangjin, Chongqing, Peiling, Zigui, Jiangling, Yueyang, Wuhan, Anqing, Wuhu, Nanjing, Zhenjiang, and Shanghai. In addition, along the River, one feels merged with nature and will have a chance to explore the mysterious ancient country of China in the Orient and to learn the life of country people.

Natural secenery and landscapes along the River are beautiful with many historical and cultural cities and towns, including Suzhou and Hangzhou. There is a saying that goes: "The best place in the heavens is paradise; the best place on the earth is Suzhou-Hangzhou." Other places the river goes through are: Tai Lake; Naning, once the ancient capitals of China as well as the political and cultural center in the Southeast; Mount Lu, a summer resort; and Wuhan.

Sanxia, the Three Gorges, and other Natural Sites
The most impressive section of the river are the three Yangtze River gorges: the Qutang Gorge, the Wuxia Gorge, and Xiling Gorge, collectively known as Sanxia, or the Three Gorges.

San Xia

With Baidi City, Fengjie in the Sichuan province to the west end, and Nanjin Pass of Yichang in the Hubei province at the east, the Three Gorges, Qutang, Wu and Xiling, total 192 kilometers in length.

Wu Gorge, 44 kilometers long, is known for its deep valleys and quiet beauty. The "Twelve Peaks" lining the banks of Wu Gorge have been admired by visitors from all over the world. Among the twelve peaks at the Wu Gorge, the Goddess Peak is the most exquisite. It is said that if you look carefully, a silhouette of a goddess can be seen at the top of Goddess Peak, and hence its name.

Qutang Gorge, known for its magnificence, is only 8 kilometers long with many scenic spots. These include the Meng Liang Staircase, the Ancient Plank Road, the Kui Gate, the Seven Gate Cave, the Bellows Gorges, and the Rhinoceros Watching the Moon.

San Xia Close-up

Xiling Gorge, extending 66 kilometers in length and full of turbulent currents and whirlpools, is one of the most dangerous shoals. It is composed of many scenic spots, such as "Military Manual and Precious Sword Gorge", "Ox's Live and Horse's Lung Gorge", "Kongling Shoal", and "Shadow-Play Gorge". Among the cultural relics in the gorge are "Huangling Temple" and the "Three Travellers Cave".

The Lesser Three Gorges, referring to the three separate valleys of the Daning River, are respectively called "Dragon-Gate Gorge", "Misty Gorge", and "Emerald Gorge". With clear water flowing fast through the gorges and precipices and peaks towering to the sky, one can take a small boat to enjoy these extremely marvellous spectacles of nature.

The Red Cliff is situated in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, about 38 kilometers from the northwest of Puqi City. It is an important scenic spot of the ancient Three Kingdoms and Three Gorges.

Shennong Stream

The Red Cliff includes three parts - Chibi Hill, Nanpin Hill, and Jinluan Hill. The Chibi Hill faces the Yangtze river in the north, and the two characters "Chibi" (Red Cliff) are clearly carved in it. At the top of the hill stand the "Yijiang Pavilion" and a huge stone statue of Zhou Yu, chief commander of Wu State. On the east side of the hill stands the Museum of the Red Cliff Battle which is the first museum based on ancient battles in China.

The 60-kilometer Shennong Stream rises in the southern part of the Shennongjia Reserve. The stream flows north to south through deep gorges and finally merges with the Yangtze at the mouth of the Wu Gorge. The crystal clear and unpolluted water flows very swiftly, and a tour by Sampan will give you an idea of just how powerful the current is in this rapid stream. The Shennong Stream is indeed a very attractive scenic spot.



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