There are more than 340 scenic spots at Yichang.
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Among them are the Three Gorges and the Gezhouba Dam, two of China’s 40 best scenic spots. Other tourist attractions include the Three Gorges Dam 三峡大坝, the ancient relics of the Three Kingdoms period (220-280) 三国遗址, the Qingjiang River 清江, the Shennongjia Scenic Area 神农架风景区, and the Dalaoling Virgin Forests 大老岭原始森林.
Gezhouba Project 葛洲坝
Gezhouba Project is located at Yichang, one of the largest hydropower projects in the world. With a storage capacity of 39.3 billion cubic meters of water the reservoir submerged 632 square kilometers of land, originally belonging to Chongqing Municipality and Hubei Province respectively, causing noticeable changes to the hydrology, chemical properties and sediment of the River in the reservoir area. The reservoir will also make local air moister and will bring more rain to the area. The reservoir’s water surface and warm climate would form a “paradise” for birds. And it would also store abundant food for fish washed down from the local streams and rivers. It can generate 16 billion kilowatts of electricity every year.
According to experts from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), the huge lake will function as an “air-conditioner,” lowering the temperature in nearby Chongqing Municipality by 5℃ during summer and raising its temperature by 3℃-5℃ during Winter when the reservoir is completed by the year of 2009.
Situated 40 kilometers in the western part of Yichang in Hubei Province, the Project consists of a 2,309-meter-long, 185-meter-tall dam, and 26 generating units with a combined capacity of 18.2 million kilowatts. Upon completion in 2009, the Project will be able to generate 84.7 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. Its permanent locks will accommodate ships of more than 10,000 dead weight tons. Hydropower specialists predict the power generation capacity of the Three Gorges Project will remain unchallenged internationally for many years to come. The specialists reckon it would take 50 million tons of raw coal or 25 million tons of crude oil to produce the same amount of energy as the annual output of the Three Gorges Project. Thus the Project will avoid the emission of 1 million to 2 million tons of sulphur dioxide, 300,000 to 400,000 tons of nitrogen oxide, 10,000 tons of carbon monoxide and 150,000 tons of soot into the air annually. The dam’s design is absolutely safe, and when it is completely finished in 2009, it will be able to control floods effectively, and the watercourse through the Gorges will be deeper and sager, allowing larger vessels to sail to and from Chongqing.
The Yangtze River 长江
The 6,300-kilometers-long Yangtze River, third longest in the world next to the Nile 埃及的尼罗河 (6,690 kilometers) in Egypt, and the Amazon 巴西的亚马逊河 (6,570 kilometers) in Brazil, flows over eight provinces and the municipalities of Shanghai and Chongqing. It pours 1,000 billion cubic meters of water each year into the East China Sea. Its valley covers 1.8 million square kilometers, one fifth of the nation, on which 40-50 per cent of the population lives. It also produces almost half of the country’s food grains, steel, iron, industrial and agricultural products. The Yangtze River is not only vital to the country’s water control, irrigation and hydro-electric power generation, but is also one of China’s major transport arteries.
With 13,500 staff members, the shipping bureau is in charge of a total of 2,500 kilometers from Shanghai to Lanjiatuo. The River is navigable with vessels up to 1,000 tons entering Chongqing Municipality, 3,000 tons entering Wuhan, and 10,000 tons entering Nanjing. The volume of goods transported has grown from 2 million tons to 47 million tons a year (excluding branches and tributaries) since 1949. Total tonnage of the bureau’s freighters has risen from 200,000 to 1.8 million and the volume passing through 25 major ports is now 80 million tons annually.
The Three Gorges in Chongqing Municipality, once a natural barrier, now are navigable by boats up to 1,000 tons. The channel is maintained at a depth of 2.1-2.9 meters marked by electrical navigation beacons.
With the exception of four-horsepower pushing-type tow boats bought from the US, all vessels passing through the River are made in China.
Readjustment of the national economic policy in the past few years has greatly enhanced activities along the River. Tourism brings additional prosperity to the area and the River as well.
Even though good use has been made of the River for more than about 50 years, much more needs to be done to tap the River potential. There is no mechanization in minor ports. There are not enough wharves, space for casting anchors, nor enough shelters for waiting passengers, even in larger ports like Wuhan and Nanjing. Also more specialized vessels are needed for containerized shipments or particular kinds of products.
In addition to investment, unified planning of both trunk and branch rivers could help solve the problem of too few locks at dams and hydropower projects. However, the first priority is construction of additional freight-handling installations at ports. It is estimated that reducing the waiting time of one ton of freight alongside a wharf is equal to an addition of vessels totaling 240,000 tons. Also still bigger and faster loading and discharging capacity is needed at the ports to expedite transportation of coal.
A Chinese proverb goes: “As on the Yangtze River, the waves behind drive on those before.长江后浪推前浪” Therefore, each new generation excels the previous one. The same is true of its own construction and development.
Tunnel to Cross Yangtze River 武汉市长江隧道---长江第一隧
The first tunnel crossing through the Yangtze River started construction within 2002 in Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province. The tunnel, will be 3,690 meters long, of which 1,380 meters is underwater, 35 meters wide, and 4.5 meters high. The tunnel, with four expressway laned and two subway lanes, is predicted to See a volume of 50,000 vehicles per day. The Project will be completed in four years.
Three Gorges Dam 三峡大坝
On November 8, 1997, China’s longest and the world’s third-longest River was blocked. The two dikes blocking the mighty Yangtze River stand 76 meters tall and consume 11.3 million cubic meters of earth and rock. The final damming took place on the morning of November 8, 1997, and workers fought 14,000 to 19,400 cubic meters of water to close the 60-meter-deep, 130-meter-wide mouth. After the blocking the Yangtze River gushes through the diversion canal, workers would dry the 630,000-square-meter riverbed between the upper and lower dikes as the basis for a central dam. With the opening of a permanent lock in 2003, that dam has been ready with 26 turbo-generators and power-transmitters. The diversion canal of the Three Gorges Dam opened to navigation on October 6, 1997. During construction of the project, 1.2 million residents were resettled. About 179 factories and houses with a total area of 3.35 million square meters in the Three Gorges area were relocated and reconstructed; the 1,084-square-kilometer Three Gorges reservoir submerged 2 cities, 11 counties, 114 towns, 1,711 villages, 34.8 million square meters of houses and 1,599 factories; the total investment for the Project was estimated to be 40 billion yuan (US$4.82 billion) based on May 1993 prices. The final investment will reach about 180 billion yuan (US$21.6 billion).
The related financial institutions for the dam Project loans come from about 10 countries, including Switzerland, Brazil, Canada, France, Spain and Norway. It started generating electricity in 2003 and is due to be completed in 2009.
Construction of the mammoth Project began in 1993 and will be completed in Three phases. The first phase was carried out from 1993 to 1997 when the mainstream of the Yangtze River was dammed at the Three Gorges. The second phase was completed between 1998 and 2003 when the Three Gorges Reservoir began storing water and the first group of power units became opetational. The third phase will be built from 2004 to 2009 when all the power units begin generating electricity. The water level in the Three Gorges Reservoir will finally reach 175 meters in 20 to 30 years after the Project is completed in 2009. An investigation jointly carried out by the Yangtze River Water Resources Committee and Tsinghua University shows that unique scenes in the Three Gorges area, featuring high, steep and spectacular mountains, will remain unchanged after the second damming, especially after 2003, the year when the reservoir began storing water. Water depth in the reservoir will be 10 to 110 meters above the current level on average after 2009, compared with mountains on both sides of the Yangtze River at the Three Gorges section. After the reservoir began storing water in 2003, water levels at the Three Gorges---namely Qutang, Wuxia and Xiling Gorges—rose by only 9, 16 and 46 meters respectively. But mountains on both sides of the Gorges are 1,000 to 1,500 meters high. Experts say, with the completion of the Three Gorges Project, some new scenic sights have emerged in the area, presenting a brand new Three Gorges to visitors.
More About The Hubei Province
- Shennongjia Introduction
Shennongjia is a natural medicinal herb garden.
- Wuhan Introduction
Wuhan is a generic name, referring to the three linked mid-Yangtze River citied of Wuchang, Hankou, and Hanyang.
- Xianling Tomb in Hubei Province
The Xianling Tomb encompasses about 40 hectares.
- Yichang Introduction
There are more than 340 scenic spots at Yichang.