The Yangtze River -- Rich with History

| July 20, 2009

Viking River Cruises offers an extensive array of Yangtze River cruises with add-on trips to China's top attraction; Beijing, Shanghai and the Terra Cotta Army.

As the longest river in Asia, China's Yangtze River is quickly becoming one of the most well-known and popular tourist destinations in the world. With the booming interest in travel to China, hopping aboard a Yangtze River cruise is quickly becoming an essential part of the experience for travelers eager to explore the heart of China.

The Yangtze's large basin, about 600 miles from north to south and about 2,000 miles from west to east, is one of China's longest-inhabited regions. Without a doubt, its 3,915 miles are filled with breathtaking scenery, vibrant culture and intriguing history.

Known in Chinese as "Chiangjian" meaning "Long River," the Yangtze runs along dozens of fascinating sites that history buffs will enjoy. The Three Gorges Dam, Snow Jade Cave, and Mt. Jiujua are just some of the historic landmarks.

Cities in China

Three Gorges Dam The Three Gorges Dam is one of the most famous sites in all of China and is the largest hydroelectric power station in the world. Chinese revolutionary and political leader Sun Yat-Sen first introduced the idea of the dam in his book, The International Development of China, published in 1921. Preliminary plans as far as early stages of planning and design were started on the project in 1932, but it was eventually stopped in 1947 because of the Chinese Civil War.

It wasn't until 1992 that the Chinese government approved the project again. When the dam's construction began in 1994, the massive scope of the project was unprecedented at the time. Still in the process of being fully completed, the building of the dam has been a continuing cause of controversy for many who oppose the project.

Snow Jade Cave Known for its stunning natural and unique beauty, Snow Jade Cave was discovered in 1993, but many experts believe it could be as much as 50,000 years old. It is actually the youngest cave to be discovered in China. Visitors got their first glimpse at the massive and fast-growing stalactites, structures similar to icicles, in 2003 when the cave was opened to the public. It is the first cave to be listed as a State Key Cave Research Base.

Mt. Jiuhua Made famous by its ancient temples, Mount Jiuhua is located in Qingyang County and is one of the four sacred mountains of Chinese Buddhism. It has had over 500 poems written about its beauty and religious significance, and is the number one destination for holy pilgrimages. It is also regarded as a sacred place by staunch advocates of Buddhism. In this area, during the golden periods of the legendary Ming and Qing dynasties, there were over 4,000 monks and as many as 360 temples erected. Many of the temples were dedicated to Ksitigarbha, who is a protector of souls. Because of its religious power, the Greater Tiantai Peak of Mount Jiuhua is a favorite attraction, with many Buddhists regularly traveling far and wide in order to climb it.

Continue Article >> Viking River's Yangtze River Cruises (Part 2)

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