of all those gorges, the 8-kilometre-long Qutang
is the shortest but grandest one.
Wuxia Gorge is 45-kilometre-long , is famed for its deep valley.
Xiling Gorge, about 66-kilometre-long, is the longest of the Three Gorges
and is entirely within Hubei.
Gorges is truly one of the most unique wonders on earth. It is a mosaic of
inspiring visitors and landscape of unparalleled beauty. A masterpiece
carved by winds and waters of time as well as the Orogenesis Movement,
this the Great Three Gorges of the Yangtze, one of the nature's finest
achievements. In his poem "The Three Gorges", Chen Yi, a general
of new China, writes: "How grand and magnificent the Three Gorges
are! Only on board a ship can you really appreciate the beauty!" He
outlined the features of the Three Gorges with one word
"magnificent" and gave encouragement and impetus to the people
to tour the amazing gorges.
Gorges pass through the boundary between Chongqing and Yichang with a
total length of 193 km long. The Three Gorges include: the Qutang Gorge
which features magnificence, the Wu Gorge which features serenity and
beauty, and the Xiling Gorge which features numerous shoals and rapids
gorge is very much like a weir and thus came the name "Qutang
Gorge". It extends 8 km, starting from Baidicheng in the
west and ending at Daixi Town in the east. The old construction complex on
the mountain on the northern hilltop is Baidicheng, Immediately below it
is Kui Men, the entrance to the first of the three gorges of the Yangtze
River-the Qutang Gorge (also known by early Western travelers as the Wind
Box Gorge). The shortest but grandest of them all, the gorge's widest
point is only 150 meters (500 feet). Mists frequently swirl around the
mysterious limestone peaks, some nearly 1,200 meters (4,000 feet) high,
and the river rushes swift as an arrow through the narrow entrance,
pounding the perpendicular cliff faces on either side of the gorge. It is
the upper mouth of the Qutang section and is difficult for access. This
gorge was a particularly dangerous stretch during high-water seasons and
has been known to rise to 50 meters (165 feet).
Baiyan is partly made of a huge white rock, which is a few
dozen meters high and more than a thousand meters long. On its cliff face
there are a number of inscriptions carved in styles of cursive,
regular, official and seal scripts. The largest characters
carved on this wall, known as Chalk Wall, are the inscriptions of verse
originally penned by Sun Yuanliang and Li Haoduan. Sun's inscription goes
like this: "Kuimen Pass is the most perilous passage in the world,
but our boat lightly passed through." Li wrote in seal script:
"Grand Kuimen Pass". Each character is three meters long.
Close to the Chalk
Wall, one can clamber a flight of a few dozen steps to see a
huge stalactite rock structure some twenty meters long with a height of
six meters. It resembles a phoenix with its head lifted. A small
stream flows down from where the neck would be called the Phoenix Drinking
Fountain or Intermittent Fountain, as there is such a fountain
near the Chalk Wall. Beside this fountain, there is a platform named
Phoenix Platform. Standing on this platform, one can see the Baidi Temple,
Fengxiang Gorge and an ancient plank road built along the edge of a cliff
Many renowned people have been officials in the Kuizhou
area. DuFu (712-770), a great Tang Dynasty poet, lived here nearly two
years. During this period, he wrote many poems portraying the landscapes
of Kuizhou, the local people and their life and customs. Now there is only
a stone tablet remained in his former residence.
When your boat gets to the county seat of Wushan wedged
between Qutang Gorge and Wuxia Gorge, you may get off there and take a
side trip upstream on the Daning River, the chief tributary of the
Yangtze River in the Three Gorges area, and find the Lesser Three Gorges.
The Daning River is 300 kilometers long. The 50-kilometres-long stretch
from Longmen Gorge in the south to Tujiaba in the north is even
narrower than the narrowest part of the Three Gorges. The Longmen Gorge,
the first of the Lesser Three Gorges, also has a little Kuimen. After
passing through this gorge, one can reach Bawu Gorge and Dicui