Yangtze River Three Gorges
Yangtze River Three Gorges
Three Gorges area is nourished by the Yangtze River for thousands of years, and people living around are endowed with outstanding wisdom. It owns rich civilization and natural resources that enrich the charm and significance of the area. Like the Wushan culture remains, the origination place of Chu culture-Zigui, hometown of the famous patriotic poet Quyuan, and Xiaotianxi earth tomb groups of warring states period in Fuling county, these historical excavations along the three gorges unveiled the unprecedented culture traces thousands or even millions of years ago, thus made it more impressive.
Qutang Gorge is the smallest and shortest Gorge, but grandest of the three. The Yangtze River, mighty and rapid here is suddenly contained like "a thousand seas poured into one cup", as the Song Dynasty poet Su Dongpo described the spectacle. High on the both bank, at a place called Bellows Gorge, are a series of crevices. This area is said to have been the home of an ancient tribe whose custom was to place the coffins of their crevices, some containing bronze swords, amour and other artifacts, but the coffins are believed to date back as far as the Warring States Period (475BC - 221BC) The Qutang Gorge is only 8 kilometers (5 miles) long, but it is also the narrowest of the Three Gorges. The widest point measures only 150 miters (500 feet) wide. The mountains on either side reach as high as 1,200 meters (4,000 feet). This combination of narrow canyons among high mountains with several switchbacks in only 8 kilometers creates spectacular vistas, and the Qutang Gorge is often considered the most beautiful of all the Three Gorges.
Wu Gorge extends 40 kilometers along which the river snakes between based strange-shaped mountain peaks, each of which has a reputation based on a beautiful legend. The story of the 12 Peaks of Wushan goes like this: 12 nymphs once descended to enjoy themselves in the secular world. Finding how perilous Wushan Gorge was, they decided to stay there to protect ships. As time went by, they transformed themselves into 12 peaks. The Goddess Peak, the most graceful of the 12, is said to have been yogi, the youngest daughter of the Queen mother of the Western Heaven. Goddess Peak stands out from the other peaks on the northern bank to be the first to greet the morning sun and the last to bid it farewell, hence its another name, Viewing the glow Peak. Seen at a distance, it resembles the silhouette of a beautiful young lady.
Down stream from the zigzagging Wuxia Gorge is Xiling Gorge which stretches 78 kilometers eastward and the cliffs on either side rise to just over 900 meters. Xiling Gorge is awesome with its dangerous rapids, shoals, reefs, sharp turns, billowy whirlpools. The water at one point is so turbulent that it seems to be boiling during the flood season. Xiling Gorge in the east consists of several small gorges. On the top of another is a rock that looks like a sword. On the crag of the north bank are two pieces of brown rock, which are named Bull's Liver and Horse' Lung, whose shape they take. Next does the Lantern Shadow Gorge, which has four rocks, resemble Monk Xuan Zang and his three disciples---Monkey, Piggy and Sandy in the classic Chinese adventures of the four on their way to India to obtain Buddhist scriptures.
Hanging Coffins appears on the brown part mountain cliff on the north bank of Qutang gorge. With several up-erecting mountain holes, looked from afar, the pattern is like a billow, so this section of gorge is also called "billow gorge". Nine coffins were discovered all belong to the warring States period in which some bronze swords and human bones were found; now the coffins already disappeared, only the holes left; besides, the ancient plank walkways are another feature on the cliff of this section. The numerous holes chiseled on the cliff are the remains of the walkway, in which wood sticks were put inside with planks paved on. The ancient people use to transported goods and crossed on the planks?any mysteries lie in the three gorges, expecting to be discovered in the future.
Three Gorges, is indeed a pearl along the Yangtze River, shining with its great charm and leave people with unparallel wealth.
Tips of Visiting the Three Gorges:
Camera is a necessities when going through the gorge, as beautiful sceneries pass by continuously, glimpsed are not enough to take the memory home.
Cruise ships are the only way to visit the gorges and Yangtze nowadays. Usually it takes several days to go though the whole area with breaks in between.