Three Gorges Dam
One can not talk about the Three Gorges Dam without mentioning the Yangtze Gorges. The Yangtze Gorges lay in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River and form a common boundary for Hubei province, Sichuan province, and Chongqing city. It arches across Fengjie county and Mt. Wu of Chongqing city, five counties of Hubei province, and Yichang city. It begins in the west of Baidi City in Fengjie County and ends at Nanjin pass in Yichang city, Hubei province, a distance of 192 kilometers. Yangtze River plunges through Mt. Wu, Huangling Temple, and Bamianshan mountainous region which result from Yanshan Movement. Therefore, such three huge gorges as Qutang Gorge, Wu Gorge, and Xiling Gorge, and Daning River Dale and Xiangxi Dale came into being. "Three Gorges" are deemed as their general name.
The Three Gorges is an area of huge cliffs and high mountains with the Yangtze winding its way through on its progress toward the sea many kilometers away. The gorges are usually 250 meters to 350 meters wide with the narrowest point being about 100 meters wide. The high mountains and deep gorges, form an area of about 1 million square meters’ water from the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, producing rapid torrents and an annual average runoff of more than 450 billion cubic meters. Being one of the largest gorges in the world, the Three Gorges provides abundant water resources for China.
Before Liberation, this area contained many dangerous shoals and reefs and was full of speedy riptides and backwashes, causing incidents from time to time. The locals used to say "It is easier to pass the gates of hell than to pass the Three Gorges".
After Liberation, the Chinese government embarked on a program to control the Three Gorges and the waterway was been greatly improved by removing the reefs and directing the water, especially after the construction of the Gezhouba Dam hydro project. The dam raised the water level of the upper reaches by more than 20 meters. The water reached back for more than 100 kilometers and covered the dangerous shoal and reefs and the problems of sailing in the Three Gorges were completely solved. Lighthouses, beacons, and navigational aids have been erected along the banks and ships can proceed without hindrance day and night.
The Chinese people have long been good at creating innovative structures. On December 14th, 1994, the premier of the day (Lipeng) announced the commencement Yangtze Gorges Project. The Three Gorges Project is the biggest hydro junction project in the world that will benefit all of the Chinese nations.
On December 14th, 1994, the world’s largest water-power engineering - Three Gorges Project officially commenced. It is situated at Sandouping of Yichang city, Hubei province which is in the middle reach of Xiling Gorge. It is 38 kilometers away from the Gezhouba Dam hydro junction. The Three Gorges Project which would cost 95.46 billion yuan( according to the price at the end of May 1993) is composed of the main building project and stream guidance project. The Dam belongs to a concrete gravity dam with a length of 3035 meters, a height of 185 meters, and a normal impounded level of 175 meters. Its total volume and anti-flood volume stand 39.3 billion cubic meters and 22.15 billion cubic meters respectively, being able to resist the highly destructive flood. Two power plants there are equipped with 26 electricity generators that can produce 84.9 billion kilowatt-hours annually
The shipping capacity will increase from the recent 10 million tons to 50 million tons and the thousand-ton-level ship can get Chongqing directly. In the meantime, the transportation cost has decreased by 35%.
The two modern wonders--Three Gorges and Gezgou Dam will become the new sites of the Yangtze River in the near future, adding a new flavor to the river. As a combination of natural beauty, historical relics, and modern wonders, the Three Gorges will attract and fascinate tourists from all over the world. The Three Gorges stands at Zhongbao island of Sandouping of Yichang city, Hubei province. It is 38 kilometers away from the Gezhouba Dam hydro junction and the largest hydro junction project in the world.
At 2 pm, May 20th, 2006, the exciting erectors on the top of the dam witness the historic moment of pouring the last cubic of concrete into the dam. Up till then, the largest-scale concrete dam in the world is ultimately established.
As a steel-concrete gravity dam, the Three Gorges used 16 million concrete and sand rock materials. If laid at one cubic meter level, the overall concrete can revolve around the Earth for more than three circles.
The 185-meter-above-sea-level Three Gorge Dam is the core of the Three Gorge hydro junction project and takes 3080 days o complete. During the construction, the builders comprehensively adopt the state-of-art technique in the world and create a world record of pouring 20 thousand concrete in a single day at the peak time.
Up till now, 126 billion yuan have been invested into the Three Gorges Project. In the meantime, thanks to the installment of twenty-six 700-thousand-kilowatt super electricity generators, 84.7 billion watts of electricity can generate. The emergence of the flat lake in the high gorge end the history of non- night navigation in the Chuan River and a 10 thousand ton class sheet can go right through to Chongqing.
The Three Gorges Tourist Area was officially opened to the public in 1997, covering an area of 15.28 square meters. It contains five parks. They are the Three Gorges Exhibition Hall, Tanziling Park, 185 Park, Jinba Park, and Interception Memorial Park. Based on the world’s largest hydro junction project, the tourist area reveals the culture of the project and water conservancy in an all-around way. It provides a combination of multi-functional service of sight-seeing, science and education, entertainment, refreshment, a perfectly combining modern project with natural scenery and human landscape. Therefore, it is a traveling paradise that tourists from home and abroad long to go.
Tanziling Park is the earliest developed tourist area and started to receive tourists from all over the world in 1997. Since its shape resembles a crock, its name Tanziling (Crock Mountain) came into being. Locating at the investigation point of the Dam, the tourist area is 262.48 meters above sea level and the perfect place to appreciate the panoramic view of the Three Gorges Project. Standing there, you could not only admire the magnificence of the Three Gorges Dam but also can vow for the "The Fourth Gorge of Yangtze River"—Two Way Five-Lift Lock which stands like a cliff. The whole park is divided into three layers from the top to the bottom according to its height. It is mainly composed of mold exhibition, sub fluvial stone of Wannian River, interception stone of the Big River, the cornerstone of the Three Gorges Dam, silver version sealed book, and Tanziling gazebo. At the same time, they are interspersed by magnificent fountains, wandering brooks, and emerald green lawn. Looking from afar, the hustle and bustle are accompanied by serenity and vice versa, as if roaming in Alice’s fairytale land.
Standing at the top of the Dam which is 185 meters above sea level, the tourists can marvel at the flood discharge downwards at a close distance. Feeling the tremendous force growling under the feet is more direct and magnificent. In the meantime, contrasted with the near overwhelming backwash, the river surface far away is quiet and peaceful. All of a sudden, the tourists may feel the gorgeous blend of vitality and serenity. If it is good weather, a colorful rainbow will appear in the water fog above the flood. Gentle wind present by the river soothes the soul and the lullaby murmured by the backwash calm the heart. All the feelings, exited or surprised, proud or exhilarated are all mingle with the span of water. Maybe only after you roaming in the hug of the Dam can one genuinely feel the line "Should the goddess be not ill today, she will marvel at the world’s new array".
The sightseeing position locates in front of the left bank electricity generating set factory of the Dam. It is the perfect place to admire the Dam and water discharge. Stand on the sightseeing flat and look upwards, the tourists can see a magnificent-than-ever 185 meters high Dam. The spray under the factory and the systematic transmission line shows that powerful electric current is being transferred all around China relentlessly. Due to the change of appreciation angle, the imposing water discharge can render the tourists excited with heart afire. They can experience the great power of Nature. However, with unchallenged wisdom, human beings can finally conquer Nature.
How to Get There?
You can take the No.4 bus to Yemingzhu Bus Station in Yichang city proper， then change to take No. 8 bus to Dam area (costs 8 yuan per person), which only takes half an hour.
- Ticket Price: 105 Yuan
- Opening Hours: 8:00 – 17:30