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General Info of Yichang

Yichang is located at the Eastern entrance to the three gorges. Yichang is an ancient city with a history of more than 4,000 years. Located in the middle of China it is a transportation center that connects Eastern and Western China. Yichang has abundant natural and historic sites. Mountains, caves, stone forests, and waterfalls form picturesque scenes that have brought visitors here for centuries.

Yichang was the home of Quyuan, a poet and politician of the Warring States Period (475-221 BC). He committed suicide in the Miluo River in Zigui County of Yichang City after discovering that the kingdom he served was to be conquered. One of Yichang's most famous festivals, the Dragon Boat Festival commemorates the anniversary of Quyuan's death. The Dragon Boat Festival falls on the fifth day of the fifth month in the Chinese lunar calendar. An annual International Dragon Boat Rally is held in Zigui county of Yichang city.

Yichang has abundant water resources and it is lauded as the largest hydroelectric base in the world, indeed it is a bright pearl shining on the Yangtze River. The river runs through the city center and the Gezhouba Water Conservancy Project and Three Gorges Dam Project are located there. Benefiting from these projects, Yichang has become the largest hydroelectric resource center in China. In Addition, the tourism centered on the Three Gorges has made the city more famous and more prosperous. Xiling Gorge which is located near Yichang is an important part of the 'Three Gorges Gallery'. The Three Gorges Dam Project is one of the great wonders of modern human history and it has become a tourist hot spot of the world. Every year, millions of visitors gather here to witness this great man made project.

Apart from the Three Gorges, the abundant natural resources and historical sites of Yichang are also attractive. Mountains, waterfalls, caves, stone forests and pools form picturesque scenes.

Three Travelers'Cave:
Located just ten kilometers northwest of the city, the Three Travelers' Cave is one of the most famous sites in Yichang for its historic significance and natural beauty. In 819 AD three Tang Dynasty (618-907) poets met in Yichang and visited the cave. Being inspired by the amazing scenery the three poets immediately created some poems which they inscribed on the cave walls. During the Song Dynasty (960-1279) the famous literary famous of Su on their way to take the imperial examinations in the capitol visited the cave and added their own poems. Throughout the following centuries many other scholars have added their own inscriptions to the cave. Near the entrance to the cave is a small natural spring. Local superstition holds that if a woman washes her hands in its water, her culinary skills will be greatly improved. On the hill above the cave is the Zixi Pavilion. It holds a memorial stele to the 11th century philosopher Ouyang Xiu, who lived in Yichang. It offers a spectacular view of the surrounding area.

Dragon Spring Cave:
Dragon Spring Cave lies in the northern peak of Xiling Mountain and faces the Xialao Brook. It is close to the Three Visitors' Cave. The cave is 3.3 meters wide, more than 30 meters high and over 513 meters long. A visitor to Dragon Spring Cave must first cross the Dragon's Tongue Bridge before entering the cave. Once inside the cave a visitor can see many strangely shaped rocks resembling a dragon's internal organs. There is a spring of pure clean water that runs throughout the cave.

May Day Square:
The May Day Square was built in April 1987. It covers an area of over 20 thousand square meters. An aluminum tablet"A Gate of the Three Gorges"has become a symbol of the city. At the entrance to the square is a statue called"A Pearl in the Gorge's Mouth". It represents a pearl mounted on a pole with three ribbons hanging down. The pearl symbolizes Yichang's development, and the three ribbons represent the Three Gorges. Below the pearl is a fountain emptying into a pool. The square is surrounded by orange trees, and is a wonderful place for locals and visitors alike to relax, and visit with friends.

Chinese Sturgeon Museum:
The Chinese Sturgeon Museum is located in Xiaoxita town in Yichang. The museum was established in 1993 by the Chinese Sturgeon Research Institute to attempt to preserve this rare species. The Chinese Sturgeon, also known as the Green Sturgeon, is a migration fish. Fossil remains have shown that the sturgeon has been as earth for over 140 million years. A sturgeon can grow to over 4 meters in length and weigh over 500 kilograms, and a female sturgeon can lay over a million eggs at one time. Every year from summer to autumn Chinese sturgeon migrate to the upper reaches of the Yangtze River. Since building the famous Gezhouba Dam in the 1980's, the Chinese sturgeon cannot reach their spawning grounds putting their survival at risk. Since 1984 over 4 million young Chinese sturgeons have been reintroduced to the Yangtze River.

Dragon Boat Racing:
Yichang's Dragon Boat Races are world famous. Every year the city of Yichang hosts the International Dragon Boat Rally which invites teams from all over the world to compete in traditional Dragon Boat races. According to legend the race started in the Warring States Period (476-221 BC). When the patriot QuYuan threw himself into the river to drown himself local people raced out onto the water with their boats to attempt to rescue him. In modern competitions the dragon boats are usually around 20 meters long and 1 meter wide. Each team will have a drummer, a gong beater, a coxswain, and oarsmen. The oarsmen will row and keep stroke following the rhythm of the drum and gong. Dragon Boat Races are one of the most exciting sports you'll ever see in China. With their crews straining at their paddles, these 20 meter craft can slice through the water at incredible speeds.

Edited by Athena Lee

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