The Yangzi River (Yangtse, Chang Jiang) flows through a series of spectacular gorges in the area where it crosses from Sichuan to Hubei Province. In order from the upstream end, these are the Qutang, the Wu, and the Xiling Gorge. The Xiling is by far the longest, 76 kilometers, and is only by convention treated as a single gorge; there are considerable sections in the middle of it where the terrain is far too flat to look like a gorge.
The mouth of the Qutang Gorge, seen from upstream. This is one of the most
famous scenic spots in China, with good reason.
On the left (north) side of the photo above, there is a suspension bridge, which enables pedestrians (not motor vehicles) to cross a tributary stream. From this bridge, a paved footpath leads up to a paleontological museum (the building visible on the side of the mountain) holding fossils, especially of prehistoric elephants, found in the area. The next two photos were taken from near this museum:
The south side of the mouth of the Qutang Gorge.
A tug with three barges, heading downstream into the gorge.
Even some rather steeply sloped areas are inhabited.
Sun going down.
Cargo boat carrying large trucks upstream.
The Three Gorges Dam, which is to be the world's largest when completed, is being built near the midpoint of the Xiling Gorge. It will generate important amounts of electricity, but its most important purpose is to control floods on the lower Yangzi. It will create a huge reservoir, stretching for hundreds of kilometers upstream. Whole towns will disappear under the waters, and new towns are being built on higher ground to hold the displaced people (for an example, see my photos of Fengdu, a town that will be drowned despite being more than 300 kilometers from the dam site). Buildings are being demolished, so as not to become underwater hazards after the reservoir fills (see two photos of a site even farther upstream than Fengdu).
Unfortunately, our cruise boat passed the dam construction site on a rather
foggy morning, so I was only able to photograph the section of the site that was
closest to the shipping channel.
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Copyright © 2002, Edwin E. Moïse. Revised October 10, 2002.