Scenery Change after Three Gorges Dam Completed

The Three Gorges area is the key place where the northern and southern cultures impacted and blended. The gorge river is the birthplace of early human being and where the ancestors of Bachu (refers to today's Chongqing and Hubei) people lived. Along the river, countless cultural relics starting from the Paleolithic Age to this very day were found. However, due to the rising water of the Three Gorges Project, a large part of cultural relics or historical sites have been or will be flooded (according to the increase of the water level). Since 1996, the experts have been doing their best to save these precious cultural treasures. The important cultural relics include five ancient plank roads, 56 stone carvings and inscriptions, 17 old bridges, 45 mausoleums and 58 underground cultural sites. The following specifications are about the change and protection of four typical scenic sites after the rising of the water.

 White Crane Ridge:
Located on the river bank to the northern Puling District in Chongqing City, it is the earliest hydrology inscription in the world. After the water storage, it will forever be flooded in the water. But the cultural relic's department has built an underwater museum to help visitors' appreciation and scholars' research work.

 Zhangfei Temple:
First constructed in the late of Shu State (one of the kingdoms in Three Kingdoms Period) (220-280), Zhangfei Temple was built to memorize Zhangfei, a great general from Shu State. Originally it was located in Feifeng Mountain, the southern bank of Yangtze River and faced opposite to Yunyang County. Due to the dam, it would be totally submerged. To save these valuable ancient building complexes, the archaeologists removed the structural element and cultural relic in the temple to the new site which is 20 miles westward from the original place. The new Zhangfei Temple well preserves the old style and every piece of the cultural relic arrived intact.

Kuimen Gate Stone Carvings
Kuimen Gate Stone Carvings

 Kuimen Gate Stone Carvings:
The famous stone carvings around Kuimen Gate near the Qutang Gorge have a history about 700 years. They are below the water level after the water rises to the ideal height. In order to protect these precious stone carvings, relevant department has moved them to safety area by various measures. Some were directly cut down, and some carvings were reproduced by rubbings and photographs of cultural relics. Now visitors can find them replicated in other higher cliffs or displayed in museums.

 Dachang Ancient Town:
Located in Three Little Gorges scenic area, Dachang Ancient Town is 1,700 years old. It is the only best-preserved ancient town in the Three Gorges area, but has sunk to the bottom of the river in October 2008. The local government reproduced the town to its proper order in Dengjialing Village, the downstream of Daning River. In April 2009, the town was finished reconstruction and opened to visitors after the May Day.

But not all the cultural relics are so lucky, the Kuizhou Ancient City (Fengjie County) which is too large to be removed has to be swamped forever. What a pity! In the meantime, a large number of new scenic spots will appear. It is estimated that 37 gorges, 11 lakes and 14 islets would add new to the Three Gorges. Though the depth and wide of the water increasing, the attractive demeanor of the peaks will be almost kept unvaried. Take the Goddess Peak for example, measuring a height of 900 meters (2,953 feet), it doesn't matter much that 50 meters (164 feet) of its foot is covered by water. Besides, due to the rising water stretching into the gorges, the whole scenic area is enlarged. The prolonged branches of the Yangtze River have circled more natural beauty to the Three Gorges Area. For example, in the past, visitors had to travel on the twisting mountain road to visit "Heaven Hole and Terrain Sew" in the southern mountain area of Fengjie County. But today they can leisurely row a boat to enter the area. The experts thus put forward a new concept - Yangtze Three Gorges Grand Tourism Circle, which covers from Gezhouba Reservoir to the Three Gorges Reservoir, extending to Shennongjia Mountain in the north and to Chongqing in the west.

The construction of the dam has brought different advantages and disadvantages. Visitors have to say goodbye to some cultural relics but at the same time welcome the new ones. The Three Gorges, a wonder as it is, always brings visitors various kinds of delights.

Further Reading
Problems Caused by Three Gorges Dam

Three Gorges Dam Pros and Cons

- Last updated on Nov. 03, 2021 -
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