Chongqing - Powerhouse of the Yangtse River Valley
Chongqing, meaning 'Double Celebrations' in Chinese, has a history of 3000 years old. Today Chongqing is moving ahead to become a modern industrial center. Serving as the starting point for the tour of Yangtse Three Gorges, Chongqing is a stop-over for thousands of international travelers.

Chongqing is very hot in summer and considered one of the 'Three Furnaces' of China. Polluted and crowded, Chongqing is no tourist town. However, everything in Chongqing is improving. The city is building for the future to gain its status as an international metropolis.
Chongqing City Ratings
** The following ratings are based on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best.
History(5) Art(7) Local Culture/Unique Tour(4)
Nature/Scenic(5) Food/Shopping(8) Night Life(4)
Religion(2) Adventure/Sports(4) Reasonable Cost(6)
Recommended Days of Stay: 1 Chongqing City Map

Quick Facts
Population - 6 million
When to go
Tourist Season: October to February;
Coldest Months: January and February, with temperature as low as 6C;
Hottest Months: July, with temperature as high as 40C;
Annual Precipitation : 1000 millimeters
Getting In and Out
By Air - Chongqing is a little over 2 hours by air from Beijing. There are also flights connecting Chongqing with other major Asian cities;
By Bus - Chongqing can be reached in 4 hours by express bus from Chengdu.

History


The name Chongqing, meaning Double Celebrations in Chinese, was given by the Song emperor Zhao Dun, who conquered the city just before he ascended to the thrown. The city was once divided into three separate parts by the Yangtse and the Jialing Rivers and was accessible only by ferry. During the Qing Dynasty, a 10 meter-high, seven-km wall was built around Chongqing.

In the 1930s, Chongqing became the capital of Nationalist China during the Sino-Japanese War. The city experienced the greatest population expansion during this period as government officials and refugees rushed to Chongqing, which was walled and protected by the gorges and mountain ranges. Unfortunately much of the city was destroyed by Japanese bombs during the war. Most parts of the city of Chongqing today have been rebuilt and only certain sections still reveal what it was like before the war.

Today Chongqing is one of the fastest developing Chinese cities with the world's tallest building under construction. In 1997 Chongqing became a municipality, a designation shared only by three other cities in China (Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin). The new municipality now extends over 14 districts with an unimaginable population of 30 million, 1.3 million of whom face resettlement when the Three Gorges Dam is completed 2013.


Remains of Secondary Capital * * * * *
Chongqing served as the secondary capital of the Kuomintang government for eight years from November 1937 to October 1945. There are still some reminders of that part of Chongqing's history. The official residence of Mr. Chiang Kai-shek and his wife Madam Soong Meiling are on Huangshan of the Southern Bank District. You can also visit the home of US General George C. Marshall, who served as a mediator during the war. Stilwell center, the former residence of US Army General Stilwell, has good videos about the Japanese war.

Chongqing Museum*
Chongqing Museum is best known for its collection of ancient tomb bricks. Some of them have a history of 2000 years with elegant carvings. The museum is a clunky warehouse with poor lighting and no English titles.

Art
Painters' Village* * * *
Painters' Village is an art-lover's paradise. With a three-story gallery, the institute is one of the best in China. 17 artists display and sell their work here including wood block prints, oil and water color paintings. Watching the artist work is an interesting experience.

Local Culture/Unique Tour
Dazu Stone Sculptures * * * *
In Dazu County of eastern Sichuan Province, there are more than 50,000 stone sculptures, scattered in 40 places. The largest, richest and most exquisite collection of statues is at the foot of Baoding Hill and North Hill. They are representative stone sculptures of the Tang (628-907) and Song (960-1279) dynasties. The stone carvings along Baoding Hill were hewn out from 1174 to 1249 under the Southern Song Dynasty. The row is 500 meters long and consists of nearly ten thousand statues, of which the most distinctive and majestic are the "Thousand-arm Goddess of Mercy" and the 31 meter-long Sleeping Buddha. They are unparalleled works of art in the world. Those on the North Hill were started in 892, and continued over the next 300 years. There are altogether 264 shrines, 7000 statuses, covering a distance of 500 meters.

Nature/Scenic
Loquat Hill (Pipa Shan Park)* *
Standing 1000 feet high as the highest point of Chongqing, Logquat Hill offers a nice view of the city on a clear day. The park is named after the loquat trees planted here.

Erling Park*
The Erling park at 350 meters up offer a grand view of both the Yangtse and Jialing Rivers.

Food/ Shopping
Famous Local Food
Spicy Sichuan Cuisine;
Hot pot - is the most famous food in Chongqing. A hot pot is an electric or gas pot filled with flavorful and nutritious soup base. You have a choice of spicy, pure and combo for the soup base. Thin sliced raw variety meat, various bean curd products and all kinds of vegetables are boiled in the soup base. You then dip them in a little bowl of special sauce. Be careful since the spicy soup base is burning hot. If you are adventurous enough, you can basically cook anything with hot pot, e.g., pig's brain and duck's kidney.


Famous Local Restaurants
Sichuan Hot Pot Restaurant - a famous privately run chain restaurant for hot pot;
American Cow Boy Restaurant - Its buffet has all kinds of uncooked food, which the chef stir-fries for you at your own table.


Antique Shopping
Chongqing Antique Market - dirty, with antiques and fakes

General Shopping
Pacific Department Store - reasonably priced

Religion
Luohan Temple*
Dating from 1000 A.D., Luohan Temple is virtually the only surviving temple in Chongqing. Founded in the Song Dynasty, it was burned down during the Japanese invasion and restored in 1845. Unfortunately, the 500 stucco luohans that once stood in the main hall and gave the temple its name did not survive.
 
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