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Welcome to the “wildest, wickedest river on earth”. So said author Pearl Buck when referring to the river known to Chinese as the Changjiang and to western people as the Yangtze or Yangzi. It's the only inland river in the world which can be explored by luxury cruise ship all year around!
with a winter flow rate of 4,000 cubic meters per second jumping to 35,000 m 3 /s in summer, she can be wicked indeed! The river even can rise 60 feet in 24 hours in the gorges during summer as flooding water flows from the many tributaries, large and small, reach the main river. The Yangtze used to be very changeable and unpredictable due to the shallow water and narrow channels in winter time, but now, it's much easier to navigate due to the Three Gorges dam project, which makes the river much deeper and the channel much safer than before.
The Yangtze River is located in central China . It begins on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau at 18,750 feet above sea level and flows 3900 miles to Shanghai , where it empties into the East China Sea and the Yellow Sea . This makes it the longest river in China as well as the third longest river in the world, just shorter than the Amazon and the Nile.
From the west to the east, The Yangtze passes though Tibet , Qinghai , Yunnan , Sichuan and Chongqing all the way to Shanghai through thirteen different provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions. One third of China 's total population live along the Yangtze and one third of China 's major cities are along the River, so, the Yangtze River is considered as a golden waterway in China.
Westerners know the river as the Yangtze River, but the majority of the Chinese do not know what or where the “ Yangtze River ” is. Even if you said it with the standard Mandarin pronunciation, yangzi , they would have no clue what you are talking about! This is because the majority of the Chinese do not call the river the Yangtze. They call it the Chang Jiang ‘long river,' or just “the river.”
Many of China 's largest cities and economic centers are also located on the river, including two of China 's municipalities. Shanghai , Nanjing , Wuhan , Yichang, and Chongqing are all major cities with populations of several million each. Along the Yangtze you will see the true heart of China , you can go to the city zoo of Chongqing to see the Giant Panda ?Cwhich is considered as a living fossil or national treasure in China , Pass by the city of Fengdu to see the Ghost city or the beautiful Snowy Jade Cave . Visit shibaozhai pagoda, an extraordinary 12 ?Cstory wooden pagoda, one of the river's most spectacular sights which dates back to 1545A.D
When entering the three gorges in the day time you will cruise through steep, scenic gorges and view historical sites such as the 2000-year ?Cold hanging coffins of the Ba people and an ancient plank walk way carved on the side of the cliff. Enjoy the biggest Dam project in the world and pass through the 5 steps ship lock at the Three Gorges Dam. After that, pass by the city of Jinzhou , an ancient city with a history of 3000 years, see the ancient city wall or a local museum where you even can see a 2000 years old mummy which is still well preserved. You will then arrive in the city of Wuhan , the biggest city in Central China, and also the capital city of Hubei province, visit Hubei 's provincial museum with its many historic artifacts including a collection of ancient bells. Upon arrival in Jingdezhen , you will have an opportunity to visit the Ceramic History Museum for a lesson on how ceramics were produced in ancient times; and explore the biggest ceramic market in China .
Marvel at the tranquil beauty of Mt. Jiu Hua in the Guichi city one of the four sacred Buddhist mountains , you will have a great Buddhist temple tour today. After Guichi, the ship arrives in Nanjing , the capital city of Jiangsu province, this is a historical city that has a history of over 6000 years. Nanjing used to be one of the 6 most famous historical cities in China , and there you can see Dr. Sunyet-san's mausoleum as well as an ancient city wall. After Nanjing , you will pass by the city of Yangzhou , this is where the Grand Canal located in, and it's also an excellent Tourist City in China famous for its beautiful lakes, gardens, pavilions, willows as well as the delicious Huaiyang style food. After breakfast, you will arrive in Shanghai , China 's largest city and a modern metropolis, tour the old Shanghai and the bund, an elegant riverfront promenade, on an afternoon tour. You will also see many exhibits at the Shanghai museum.
After the Three Gorges Dam is totally finished (at the end of the year 2009), the river will be much deeper and the channel much wider ， this makes the river navigable all year around. The Yangtze is an ideal place for you to experience the great river in different seasons with different scenery; you will enjoy the charming and beautiful peach flowers as well as the g olden yellow rape seed flowers in spring. You will appreciate the soft and romantic waterfalls in all the valleys in summer, taste the sweet and tasty citrus and oranges in fall or spend your Christmas on the Yangtze river cruising in winter by taking pictures of the red maple leaves. All of the above will make the Yangtze not only the best destination for people in China but also suitable for people from all over the world.
So relax, and let the Great River , the Long River , the Changjiang, sweep you into her fascinating world of timeless adventure in the heartland of the oldest continuous civilization on earth.