The Three Gorges: Beyond Time and Space
The Three Gorges section of the Yangtze River starts from Baidicheng, an ancient city at the base of the Bashan Mountain in Chongqing Municipality, on the west, and ends at Nanjin Pass of Yichang City, Hubei Province on the east, with a total length of 192 km. It is mainly composed of three gorge sections, namely the Qutang Gorge, Wuxia Gorge and Xiling Gorge.
The Qutang Gorge, also called the Kuixia Gorge, is the beginning section of the Three Gorges. It is 8 km long, stretching from Baidicheng on the west to Daxi Town of Wushan County on the east. It is the shortest yet most magnificent section of the Three Gorges. At both the entrance and exit of the Qutang Gorge stand high steep mountains with a height of 1,000 to 1,500 meters. The mountains on both sides of the river look just like a gate, while the narrowest section of the river course only has a breadth of less than 100 meters, where the currents run wildly and rapidly. The Qutang Gorge area boasts a concentration of famous historical sites and precious cultural relics, including the ancient cities of Fengjie and Baidicheng, the rocky Eight Battle Formation, the temple of ancient general Zhang Fei at Yunyang, the ancient plank road built along the cliffs, the King fisher's Cave, and the relics of the ancient Daxi Civilization.
The almost-70 km Xiling Gorge Is the last section of the Three Gorges, and it lies between Xiangxikou of Zigui County in Yichang City of Hubei Province and Nanjin Pass of Yichang. The section is famous for its complicated terrain,dangerous shoals and rushing waters. The Xiling Gorge features a mixture of large and small ravines and dangerous shoals, and the Yangtze River roars through this section with many currents. The Xiling Gorge used to be the most dangerous section for shipping on the Yangtze, but thanks to the continuous efforts since the ancient times to clear the waterway and remove the hidden reefs, navigational safety in this section can now
The Xiling Gorge is also where the construction of the Three Gorges Water Conservancy and Hydropower Project(also called the Three Gorges Project, in short) is underway. The gigantic project, which is the largest of its kind in the world, involves the construction of a 3.035-meter-long, 185-meter-high dam, a hydroelectricity plant and navigational facilities. Once completed the Three Gorges Project will add a new, magnificent landscape to the Three Gorges scenery. The Three Gorges region is both beautiful and rich in historical and cultural heritage. Having left indelible marks on the Chinese culture in ancient times, it remains an important region for the Chinese economy and culture today.
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