The First Bend of the Yangtze lies in Shigu Town, Lijiang. Rushing down from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, "the roof of the world", the Yangtze surges into Yunnan from its northwest, where it meets Lancang River and Nu River.
Then, they go together through the high mountains and deep gorges of Hengduan Mountains. Rushing southwards from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the Yangtze is blocked by the Hailuo Cliff at Shigu, Yunnan, which makes it turn roughly to northeast, forming a rare great bay of "V" shape, which is called the First Bay of the Yangtze.
According to the geologist, the Yangtze flowed southwards along Hengduan Mountains to Jianchuan and Yangbi Gorge in ancient time; later, land movement resulted in the change of the landform, which forced the river to divert, forming the turn of its flowing direction from south to east.
Surrounded by water and mountains, the First Bay of the Yangtze has picturesque scenery, the river flowing slowly in the broad channel, a belt of willows growing along the bank, Yunling Mountains stretching around and enclosing it, tiers of terraced fields entwining the mountain slope, connecting with flat fields and farmhouses, which enjoys a reputation of "mini Jiangnan (south of the Yangtze)".
The Nujiang River
An ancestor composed this poem: "the surging river turns its direction here, then rushing magnificently into the middle land".
There is a folk legend about the origin of the bay that: the three sisters, Nu River, Lancang River and Jinsha River, went to travel together. After a quarrel breaking out between them half way into their journey, the eldest two sisters went southwards obstinately; Jinsha River, however, determined to look for brightness and love in the east where the sun rises.
Cross the river, wanna a try?
When arriving at Shigu, Jinsha River bid farewell to her sisters and turned to the east with fortitude. The place where she turned around became the First Bay of the Yangtze.
The river is broad at the Shigu Ferry, where the water flows slowly, which is suitable for ferrying across the river. So, it has always been a place of strategic importance since antient time.
It is said that during the Three Kingdoms period, Zhugeliang conquered the center of the south and crossed Lu (Jinsha River in ancient time) in May; in the year 1253 AD, Hubilie also crossed the river from Gennang; in Apr, 1936, led by Helong, Chinese Workers and Peasants' Red Army crossed the river and went northwards to fight against the Japanese army.
After liberation, at the slope behind the Shigu Monument, people established the Monument to Red Army's Ferrying in the Long March of 8.1 m high. Standing on the high slope, magnificent and solemn, it is the historical and cultural relics under state protection in Yunnan Province.
The building standing before the monument is the Memorial Room of Red Army's Ferrying. The relics displayed in the exhibition room can give you a vivid picture of this great army half a century ago.
On the mountain besides the First Bend of the Yangtze, stands a small town which is named Shigu Town. That is because, in this town, there is a monument carved in the white marble in the shape of a drum, whose diameter is 15 meters and thickness is 0.7 meters.
It is for memorizing the victory of the outspread of power of Baizhuang, the Tusi of Mu Family of Lijiang, during Jiajin years in the Ming Dynasty.Until now, it is one of the stone monuments built in the earliest period in Lijiang.
On its right, there is a willow forest at the bank; on the left, the Chongjiang River flows. Across the river, there is the Tiehong Bridge of 17 meters, boards paving on iron chains with iron chains as its fence on both sides. As an important town on the trade route for tea and horses between the inland and Tibet. Shigu Town has flourishing fair trade, which is very busy and held every three days.