Shibaozhai Fortress, literally meaning Precious Stone Fortress, is famous for its peculiar architectural style and numerous interesting stories. Located 45 kilometers away from Zhong County of Chongqing City along the north bank of Yangtze River, Shibaozhai Fortress is settled at a about-200-meter-high rocky and craggy peak which has extremely steep sides.
|12-story Tower in Shibaozhai Fortress||Vivid sculptures in Shibaozhai Fortress|
According to the legend, the giant stone on the hill, where the fortress is nestled, is left by Goddess Nuwa who repaired the broken sky, so it is the source of the name Shibao (Precious Stone). In the lat Ming Dynasty over 400 years ago, the place was used as defense system by the rebel army; a wooden fortress was built at that time and expanded by the later rulers of Qing Dynasty. Since Three Gorges Dam started to work and the water arose in the year of 2003, the fortress has been surrounded by a 120-hectare lake. Until now, Shibaozhai Fortress has become a world-famous spectacular attraction along Yangtze River.
The 12-story tower, the main building of Shibaozhai Fortress, is made of wood in the unique ancient architectural style, at the top of which Purple Rain Pavilion dedicated to Manjusri was built during the reign of the Xianfeng Emperor (1850 - 1861). It is adjacent to the cliff to aid people in getting to the top of the hill. Prior to the construction of the pavilion, visitors to the temple were hoisted to the top using a system of chains and enjoy a spectacular panoramic view. At the base of the hill alongside the river bank is a row of merchant stalls which follows the path from the dock to the entrance of the pavilion.
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