"Chongqing and the Yangtze" Chongqing Shi by mke1963

Chongqing Shi Travel Guide: 242 reviews and 824 photos

The Chang Jiang

The mighty Yangtze....Chang Jiang (Long River)...is synonymous with China. If the Huanghe is the heart of China, then the Chang Jiang is the soul. Meandering in vast loops north and south, and cutting through vast chains of mountains, it runs more than 6300km from the plains on Qinghai through central and southern China to empty into the sea at Shanghai. It is not a river for the meek: it is a huge untamed river and the dams may only provide partial control over this powerful beast. It remains to be seen whether the dams actually provide any control at all.

The Three Gorges Project which centres around a huge dam at Sandouping near Yichang in Hunan overwhelms all society, culture and economy between Fengdu and Yichang. Its electricity output and planned flood control role should benefit hundred of millions more people. Only time will tell whether it was a wise investment.
The Chang Jiang is navigable as far as Yibin in Sichuan province, some 500km upstream from Chongqing, and remains the main transportation artery through cental China, even in this day of rail and air travel. Big ocean-going ships can be seen in Chongqing, and there can be few shipbuilding centres in the world further from the sea.
Some of the most important cities in China are on the river: Shanghai, Nanjing, Wuhan and Chongqing. In the middle of the eighteenth century, access to the river was fundamental for the expansion plans of the Western powers and there were ten treaty ports established on its banks. Western architecture is still common in the big cities and towns as far as Chongqing. Power and imperialism continued to hinge on the Chang Jiang until the Communist victory in 1949.
It is perhaps no surprise that the first bridge across the lower Chang Jiang wasn't built until 1957, at Wuhan, and another decade passed before the second one appeared at Nanjing. Even today there are just 15 bridges across the river below Chongqing.
Standing watching the brown, silt-laden river roaring past anywhere along the middle or lower stretches of the river is a sobering passtime. In cities like Wuhan and Nanjing, the river is contained by huge dykes, and in many areas, silt deposition has raised the bed way above the surrounding countryside. The Chang Jiang is an artery for China, but it is also the grim reaper when the banks break and the vast volume of water pours across the flat plains of the lower provinces.

Some of the most important cities in China are on the river: Shanghai, Nanjing, Wuhan and Chongqing. In the middle of the eighteenth century, access to the river was fundamental for the expansion plans of the Western powers and there were ten treaty ports established on its banks. Western architecture is still common in the big cities and towns as far as Chongqing. Power and imperialism continued to hinge on the Chang Jiang until the Communist victory in 1949.

  • Last visit to Chongqing Shi: May 2004
  • Intro Updated Nov 20, 2004
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Reviews (2)

Comments (2)

  • advantix's Profile Photo
    Jan 22, 2005 at 4:47 AM

    wonderful pix !

  • jessicadf's Profile Photo
    Dec 1, 2004 at 4:08 PM

    I've been hearing about the 3 Gorges project on National Public Radio and the like for a while, but these are my first photos of it. Well written page -- thanks!

mke1963

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