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.