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Home >> China Travel City Guide >> Chongqing

Chongqing

Chongqing, China's fourth municipality directly under the central government (MDUCG), is situated in the southeastern part of Sichuan Basin, occupied an areas of 82,400 square kilometres with a population of 30.42 million.

Chongqing is a state-listed historical and cultural city. The largest city in Southwest China, it is a hub of water and land communications and an important industrial centre. It is also the starting point for a cruise on the Yangtze River to see the many scenic spots and historical sites along its banks.

"When the sun shines in Sichuan in winter, the dogs bark." This proverb is particularly apt for Chongqing, since through most of the winter, from around October to March when temperatures can fall to 4ºC, the town is shrouded in fog that rises from the rivers, hiding the sun and depressing spirits of people.

Chongqing is rare among Chinese cities, because it is built on a rocky promontory hugging the river. Actually, it sits right at the confluence of two rivers where the Jialing River joins the Yangtze River, and has always been an important trading centre. The city is not constructed on traditional grid lines. The houses in the old city centre are typical of the architecture in this region, closing to the slopes with their black roofs resembling swallows nests. The top floor has a door to the street and the lower floors overlook one of the two rivers.

During the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Chongqing was called Yuzhou along this stretch, and it is still called Yu for short at present. The emperor Zhao Dun of the Song Dynasty (960-1279), renamed it Chongqing, or Twin Fortune, after two lucky events: he first became prince of the prefecture, and then later became Emperor of China.

Chongqing became a MDUCG in 1997 and is now made up of the city of Chongqing, Wanxian, Fuling, and Qianjiang District. Being the largest city in China, it is an important inland port for international trade and a hub of communications. A large part of the famous Three Gorges lies in Chongqing. Other major tourist attractions are Daning River, Little Three Gorges, Dazu Stone Sculptures, and Shibaozhai.

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