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Qutang Gorge in 2009
|Elevation||440 ft (134 m)|
|Traversed by||Yangtze River|
The Three Gorges (simplified Chinese :三峡; traditional Chinese :三峽; pinyin :
The Three Gorges—comprising the Qutang, Wu, and Xiling gorges—span 193 miles (311 km), beginning at Baidi City of Chongqing Municipality, in the west and ending at Nanjing Pass, at Yichang City, Hubei Province, in the east, between which are the Fengjie and Wu Mountains of Chongqing, as well as Badong, Zigui, and Yichang of Hubei Province;.
After arriving at Yibin (宜宾), in Sichuan Province (四川), the Yangtze River (长江) flows from Jiangjin (江津), of Chongqing Municipality (重庆), to Yichang (宜昌), of Hubei Province (湖北); and this section of the river is called Chuanjiang (川江), or "the river of Sichuan". In the past, it was the only waterway that connected Sichuan and Guizhou to China's eastern area. (The Wu River (乌江) flows past Guizhou and empties into the Yangtze River at Fuling (涪陵), of Chongqing Municipality). Downstream, the Chuanjiang passes the Wu Mountains—the second ladder of the Chinese mainland—which form the Qutang Gorge (瞿塘峡), the Wu Gorge (巫峡), and the Xiling Gorge (西陵峡) along the Yangtze River, which is where this area gets its name.
The Three Gorges span from the western, upriver, cities of Fengjie and Yichang, in Chongqing Municipality, to the east, downstream, to Hubei province. The Three Gorges Reservoir Region is approximately 200 km (120 mi) in length, while the Three Gorges themselves occupy approximately 120 km (75 mi) within this region, which has attracted global attention due to the Three Gorges Dam, which is changing the culture and environment of the region. [ better source needed ]
Although it is primarily famous for its scenery, the Three Gorges region is also historically and culturally important in China. Many settlements and archaeological sites are in danger of being submerged by the rising reservoir of the Three Gorges Dam.
|Qutang Gorge||瞿塘峡||8||from Baidicheng (Fengjie) to Daxi|
|Wu Gorge||巫峡||45||from Wushan to Guandukou (Badong)|
|Xiling Gorge||西陵峡||66||from Zigui to Nanjin Pass (Yichang)|
Due to the lithological conditions of its different regions, the valleys of the Three Gorges are narrow in some areas and broad in others. Most narrow valleys occur in regions where there is limestone, which is relatively hard and resists erosion. However, water can flow along deep vertical fractures, eroding underneath. As the limestone bed is gradually undercut, parts of it fall into the river along vertical fractures, forming precipitous cliffs. When the river flows through areas of softer sandstone and shale, which have less resistance to erosion, the erosive effect is increased, carving wide valleys.
There are different theories on how the Three Gorges were formed, but geographers and geologists have generally reached a consensus, believing mountain folding in the east of Sichuan Province and the west of Hubei Province, including the Wu Mountains (巫山), were the outcome of the Yanshanian movement (燕山運動) around 70 million years ago. The gorges run from southwest to northeast, then turn, and from west to east, with terrain lowering gradually from south to north. The western and eastern parts of the area, between the southern mountains and Bashan Mountain (巴山), in the north, are comparatively lower; and in the past, the river flowed to the east through the region. As the crust of the locality continued to rise, the river's erosion intensified, and the Three Gorges were carved.
The natural beauty of the Three Gorges along the Yangtze River has been appreciated for hundreds of years. In the Northern Wei (北魏) dynasty, Li Daoyuan (酈道元) described them in his work, Commentary on the Water Classic (水經注).
There are seamless mountains on both sides of the Three Gorges stretching more than 200 miles. The overlapping rocks make up layers of barriers that shield against sky and sunshine so that the sun can only be seen at noon and the moon will merely show at midnight. In summers, water rises to lofty mountains, making all boats floating along or against the river get blocked. Suppose an empire has an urgent decree to issue from Baidi, it will reach Jiangling at sunset of the day. The distance between them is about 373 miles, and neither a galloping horse nor a flight can run faster than a boat.
Yuan Shansong (袁山松) of the Eastern Jin dynasty wrote a Record of Yichuan's Landscape, which depicts the Three Gorges' grandeur. He wrote,
People were always warned literally or orally of the Gorges' swift currents, saying they are horrific, and no one praised the local landscape [as] beautiful. It's [not] till I came to the site that I felt quite gleeful and started to understand seeing is believing. The overlapping cliffs, the elegant peaks and the grotesque structures, they all constitute the scenery far from expression. The lush, solemn woods stood erected in the cloudy air. I can raise up my head to appreciate what's above, and look down to see reflections, and the more acquainted I get with this place, the better I feel. I spent two nights there, forgetting to return. I had never seen such a scene, nor had I any similar experience. So I am cheerful to see such a wonder, I feel mountains and waters all had spirits, and I am thrilled to encounter this bosom friend after seeking so long.
In his poem Setting out from Baidicheng, Li Bai (李白) depicts this place, saying,
While monkeys keep howling at both sides of the river, the boat has swiftly passed thousands of mountains.
Between winter and spring, the shadows of rocks and woods are reflected in the green pool accompanied by white, swift currents. Cascades plunge and flow across cypresses increasing at extremely high peaks. Clean water, flourishing trees, lofty mountains and luxuriant grasses compose the landscape. When the sun starts to rise or frost falls in the morning, forests and streams are chilly and solemn, and one can often hear monkeys howling from peaks. Their cries sound sad and strange and last in the valleys for quite a while, because of that, local fishers think the Wu Gorge is the longest of the Three Gorges in the east of Sichuan province.
The Three Gorges have renowned scenic spots, such as the Kuimen (夔門), located at the western entrance to the Three Gorges. The cliffs on both sides appear to some as having been cut by knives or axes. Among the Wu Mountains that are located at the northern and southern beaches of the Wu Gorge, one of the twelve peaks is known as Fairy Peak. According to folk tradition, it symbolizes a fairy who assisted Yu the Great in controlling the waters and guiding boatmen. The Xiling Gorge comprises a series of famous gorges, including Military Book and Sword Gorge, Yellow Cow Gorge, and Lantern's Shadow Gorge.
In 1919, after Sun Yat-sen had put forward the concept in the Plan for Industrial Development of his Founding Strategy 建国方略), experts investigated damming the Three Gorges, but it was not until 1994 that the Three Gorges project officially started.(
In 1944, the Nationalist government recruited John L. Savage, the Chief Engineer of the United States Bureau of Reclamation, who came to China and made a 10-day investigation of the Three Gorges. Afterwards, he wrote an enthusiastic report on the prospects of a dam. Construction was started on the first of the dams at Upper Tsing Yuan Tung, but was halted on August 15, 1947, because of the Chinese Civil War.
In February 1958, as the expanded meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee was held at Nanning (南宁), the Three Gorges Project (三峡工程) was discussed for the first time, and fierce disputes broke out. In the end, this project was delayed. Over the following three decades, people continued to discuss it. In the early 1980s, people mentioned it once again, but after repeated discussions and investigations, it was again postponed. On March 6, 1992, a feasibility report was presented at the 5th Session of the 7th National People's Congress (NPC) for discussion and resolution. On April 3 of that year, 2,633 NPC members, one-third of the whole body, voted for the Resolution on the Development of the Three Gorges Project, and this was unprecedented in the voting history of the People's Republic of China. The Three Gorges Project officially began on December 14, 1994.
The Three Gorges Dam was constructed at Sandouping (三斗坪), Yichang (宜昌) in Hubei Province (湖北), in the middle of Xiling Gorge. On May 20, 2006, the reservoir dam was completed, and the water level quickly reached the initial level of 110 meters (360 ft) above the downstream river. The project was completed by the end of 2008, with a ship lift completed in 2015.[ citation needed ]
Both the dam and the Three Gorges Reservoir has had a massive impact on the region's ecology and people, involving the mass relocation of towns and villages.[ citation needed ] The higher water level has changed the scenery of the Three Gorges so that the river is wider and the mountains appear lower. However, the mountains still tower above the river, and the gorges continue to offer views of the surrounding cliffs.
The riverboat companies operating on the Three Gorges are experiencing an increase in demand for river cruises.[ citation needed ] The increased width and depth of the river permits larger ships through the gorges, and there has been a significant increase in river traffic of all kinds, including bulk cargo and container barges.
After the construction of the Three Gorges Dam was approved, archaeologists were allowed time and resources to carry out rescue work. However, after the dam was built and used to store water, a large number of cultural relics, including hanging coffins and stone inscriptions that cannot be protected, were covered by the reservoir.
The Yangtze or Yangzi is the longest river in Asia, the third-longest in the world and the longest in the world to flow entirely within one country. It rises at Jari Hill in the Tanggula Mountains and flows 6,300 km (3,900 mi) in a generally easterly direction to the East China Sea. It is the sixth-largest river by discharge volume in the world. Its drainage basin comprises one-fifth of the land area of China, and is home to nearly one-third of the country's population.
The Three Gorges Dam is a hydroelectric gravity dam that spans the Yangtze River by the town of Sandouping, in Yiling District, Yichang, Hubei province, central China, downstream of the Three Gorges. The Three Gorges Dam has been the world's largest power station in terms of installed capacity (22,500 MW) since 2012. In 2018, the dam generated 101.6 terawatt-hours (TWh), breaking its previous record, but was still slightly lower than the Itaipú Dam, which had set the world record in 2016 after producing 103.1 TWh.
Hubei is a landlocked province of the People's Republic of China, and is part of the Central China region. The name of the province means "north of the lake", referring to its position north of Dongting Lake. The provincial capital, Wuhan, serves as a major transportation hub and the political, cultural, and economic hub of central China.
Wanzhou District is Chongqing's second most populated urban core area on the upper reaches of the Three Gorges of the Yangtze River in China. It is currently governed as a district of Chongqing Municipality, bordering Sichuan to the northwest and Hubei to the southeast. It was formerly known as Wanxian or Wan County. Prior to Chongqing's formation as a direct-controlled municipality, Wanzhou was part of Sichuan province. The urban core of Wanzhou is 228 km (142 mi) away from Chongqing's city proper.
Yichang, alternatively romanized as Ichang, is a prefecture-level city located in western Hubei province, China. It is the second largest city in the province after the capital, Wuhan. The Three Gorges Dam is located within its administrative area, in Yiling District. As of the 2010 census, its population was 4,059,686 inhabitants of whom 1,350,150 lived in the built-up area consisting of Yiling, Xiling, Wujiagang and Dianjun urban districts. The Xiaoting District has not yet been urbanized.
The Qing River is a right (southern) tributary of the Yangtze River in Hubei province of south-central China.
The Xiling Yangtze River Bridge, is a suspension bridge over the Yangtze River, just a few kilometers downstream from the Three Gorges Dam. The bridge is located within Yiling District of the prefecture-level city of Yichang, connecting the towns of Taipingxi and Letianxi with Sandouping.
Xiling Gorge is a gorge on the Yangtze River in Hubei province, China. It is the easternmost and largest of the Three Gorges.
Three Gorges Reservoir Region, including 25 county-level divisions of Chongqing municipality and Hubei province, is the region directly or indirectly involved in the submersion of the water storage of the reservoir region of the Three Gorges Dam.
Xiling is a district of Yichang, Hubei, People's Republic of China. It includes the central part of Yichang's urban area, on the left (northwestern) bank of the Yangtze River.
China Yangtze Power Co., Ltd. (CYPC), known as Yangtze Power is a Chinese utilities company, headquartered in Beijing. The company is a component of SSE 180 Index. A controlling share is held by the parent company China Three Gorges Corporation, a state-owned enterprise under State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council.
Xiling may refer to:
Wu Gorge, sometimes called Great Gorge, is the second gorge of the Three Gorges system on the Yangtze River, People's Republic of China. Formed by the Wu River, it stretches 45 km (28 mi) from Wushan to Guandukou, and is located downstream of Qutang Gorge and upstream of Xiling Gorge. The gorge straddles the boundary between Wushan County of Chongqing Municipality and Badong County, Hubei Province.
The Wu River is the largest southern tributary of the Yangtze River. Nearly its entire length of 1,150 kilometres (710 mi) runs within the isolated, mountainous and ethnically diverse province of Guizhou. The river takes drainage from a 80,300-square-kilometre (31,000 sq mi) watershed.
Sandouping is a town in Yiling District of Yichang prefecture-level city in the Chinese province of Hubei. It is located on the right (southern) bank of the Yangtze River, next to Yiling District's border with Zigui County to the west. Sandouping is best known as the location of the Three Gorges Dam, which is the world's largest electricity-generating plant of any kind.
The bridges and tunnels across the Yangtze River carry rail and road traffic across China's longest and largest river and form a vital part of the country's transportation infrastructure. The river bisects China proper from west to east, and every major north-south bound highway and railway must cross the Yangtze. Large urban centers along the river such as Chongqing, Wuhan, and Nanjing also have urban mass transit rail lines crossing the Yangtze.
The Yichang–Wanzhou railway, or the Yiwan railway connects the cities of Yichang and Wanzhou via Lichuan, Hubei. It was completed in 2010, and will be part of the future Huhanrong passenger-dedicated line from Shanghai to Wuhan to Chengdu. Out of the line's total 377 km (234 mi) length, 288 km (179 mi) runs on bridges or in tunnels. According to the chief engineer, Zhang Mei, the line was the most difficult ever constructed in China. Operation started on 22 December 2010.
Taipingxi Town is a town in Yiling District of Yichang Prefecture-level city of China's Hubei Province. It is located on the left (northern) side of the Yangtze River, near the northern end of the Three Gorges Dam.
Twelve Views of Bayu are popular scenic views in and around the city of Chongqing, China. Ba and Yu are old names of Chongqing in Imperial times. Influenced by Eight Views of Xiaoxiang in Hunan Province, people in Chongqing listed their own most beloved views during the reign of Tianshun Emperor of Ming Dynasty. Scenic views in the list changed throughout the history. Some scenic views appeared in earlier lists no longer exist in modern days due to the change of physical geography, landscapes and land-uses.
Zheng Shouren was a Chinese engineer and chief designer of the Three Gorges Dam. He had been engaged in the planning and design of the Yangtze River Basin and major water conservancy projects for a long time and had published more than 60 papers and 4 books. He was a member of the Communist Party of China.
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