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Yangtze River in Brief
The Yangtze River is China's longest river and the third longest in the world, after the Nile in Africa and the Amazon in South America. Snaking 6,300 kilometers (3,720 miles) from Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in western China into the East China Sea, the Yangtze stretches eleven provinces and municipality with the drainage area of 1.8 million square kilometers. The headstream of the Yangtze is Tuojiang River from snowy mountains of Tanggula Range. It has the more than 700 tributaries. Winding downstream from the west to the east in the mainland, the part after Yichang City is called Changjiang River, and the part after Yangzhou City was originally named the Yangtze River. Now, the Yangtze is used to represent the whole river in English, while in Chinese, the river is named Changjiang, meaning a very long river.
The drainage of the Yangtze is the most populous and prosperous area in China. The middle reach is famed as Abundant Land, and the lower reach the Land Flowing with Milk and Honey. The Yangtze is another cradle of Chinese civilization. Along the river, there are standing many cities of Chongqing, Wuhan, Nanjing, Shanghai, which with economic, cultural and historical importance. Besides, the Yangtze has enormous and inexhaustible hydroelectric resources, totally reaching 200 million kilowatt. As the navigable water in main trunk is as long as 2,800 kilometer, the Yangtze is well known as the Golden Channel.
According to the hydrology and geography, the Yangtze can be divided into three sections:
The Upper Reaches begins from the headstream in Qinghai Province to Yichang City in Hubei Province and flow the length of 4,529 kilometers. It is the most attractive section of the Yangtze, famous for its breathtaking mountains, imposing ravines, turbulent rapids and charming landscape. The world famous Three Gorges and the Three Gorges Project are in this section.
The Middle Reaches is from Yichang City to Hukou City at the mouth of Poyang Lake in Jiangxi Province, with the length of 927 kilometers. Once entera into the second section, the current slows down and the river becomes wider. This region features plain area with many lakes, among which the Dongting and the Poyang are the two largest ones.
The Lower Reaches is from Hukou to the mouth and 844 kilometers in length. The area is featured by flat delta plain, the crisscrossed canals and waterways as well as the serene waterside villages in south China. In this section, the water is very deep and the river wider. The area is fertile and populous, with the Yangtze River Delta the most economic developed area in China.
The rain season begins in April, bringing heavy rainfall to the middle and lower reaches. In addition, the main flood season is from June to August in summer. Generally speaking, the Yangtze enters it dry season in November.
Three Gorges The Yangtze Gorges is a great valley with a most splendid landscape in the Yangtze (Changjiang) River and it is one of the ten most famous scenic sites of China. It extends from White Emperor City in Fengjie County, Chongqing Municipality to Nanjin Pass in Yichang, Hubei Province, consisting of Qutang Gorge, Wu Gorge and Xiling Gorge, with a full length of 193 km.
It converges the essence of the scenery on the Yangtze River. Within this distance, they are arranged in such a manner with other gorges and valleys that one is narrow and the following one is wide by turn. Because of this topography, the momentum of the river water is pent-up in the narrow valleys and released abruptly in gorges. In those bottle-necks, water rushes down swiftly and wildly, reminding one of any angry beast. Traveling in a cruise ship in this part of the Yangtze River, one can not only enjoy grotesquely shaped rock formations and magnificent mountains along the river and the rolling water but also poems inscribed by ancient scholars. With a variety of landscape of China, it has been displaying its special charms for thousands of years.
The Yangtze Gorges presents a scene of boundless variety with the magnificence of Qutang Gorge, the elegance of Wu Gorge, the perilousness of Xiling Gorge as well as the primitive simplicity and the mysteriousness of the Daning River, and Shennong Stream, which flow into the great valley. The whole landscape is so kaleidoscopic. It is picturesque everywhere, and what more, each scene is related to a wonderful fairy tale or a moving legend which will kindle your meditation on the remote past.
The beautiful landscape of the gorge region has given birth to a splendid culture. It is one of the birthplaces of the civilizations of China. The famous Daxi Culture, which originated here, has shed brilliant light on the civilizations in the long history. The valleys were once the battlefields during the period of the Three Kingdoms, where countless heroes displayed their proness and talent. Besides, a great many well-known historical sites such as White Emperor City, Huangling Temple and Nanjin Pass, add charm to the landscape.
The gorge region is also rich in natural resources. You are welcome to the Yangtze Gorges to enjoy the charming landscape and splendid culture as well as the colorful folkways.