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Home >> Cruise >> Excursions & Sights >> Yueyang Tower

Yueyang Tower

Yueyang TowerThe famous Yueyang Tower, located at the western city gate of Yueyang in Hunan province, is listed as one of the Three Great Towers in the south of the Yangtze River in China.

Yueyang Tower was originally built for military use. The construction of the tower was commissioned by General Lu Su of the Kingdom of Wu during the Three Kingdoms Period(220-280). It was designed as a tower for training, directing marine troops and for military reviews.

Standing on the bank of Dongting Lake of Yueyang, Yueyang Tower is magnificent and imposing, overlooking the 400-kilometer waterway scattered with sailing boats. Since the Tang Dynasty(618-907), Yueyang Tower had gradually become a popular tourist destination as well as a favored site for romantic scholars, who would frequent the place for chanting and writing poems. The great writer of the Northern Song Dynasty(960-1127) Fan Zhongyan wrote the widely-read article "On Yueyang Tower" with the famous lines: One should be the first to bear hardship and the last to enjoy comforts. This brought great fame to Yueyang Tower, making it a well-known scenic spot in South China.

Yueyang TowerYueyang Tower has been renovated and reconstructed for many times. The current structure was rebuilt in 1867 during the Qing Dynasty(1644-1911). The tower resides on a wooden structure and has three stories. No rivets or nails were used in the construction of Yueyang Tower, which is a complete wood structure, simple and unique, holding unparalleled artistic values in the architectural history of ancient China. The tower's roof is covered with yellow-glazed tile and eaves rising high. The roof's ridge is decorated with various animal figures with a color-glazed fluttering phoenix in each of the four corners. Lattice works on the windows and doors are delicate, and the colored drawings painted on columns, girders and frames are magnificent. A round corridor is built on the second floor where one can lean on the balustrade and enjoy the distant view of the mists and ripples of Dongting Lake.

Yichang is in the Hubei province and lies on the northern bank of the Yangtze River. This city is the dividing line between the upper and mid-lower reaches of the Yangtze River. With the river running through the city center, Yichang has abundant water resources. The Three Gorges Dam Project is located here, which makes Yichang the largest hydroelectric resource center in China. Every year, millions of visitors gather here to witness this man made wonder of modern human history. In Addition, the tourism centered on the Three Gorges has made the city more famous and more prosperous. Xiling Gorge which is located near Yichang is an important part of the "Three Gorges Gallery".

YichangApart from the Three Gorges, the abundant natural resources and historical sites of Yichang are also attractive. Mountains, waterfalls, caves, stone forests and pools form picturesque scenes. There are many natural reserves in or around the city, including Chaibuxi National Forest Park and Houhe Natural Reserve. Yichang is an ancient city with a history of more than 4,000 years. During the Spring and Autumn Periods(770 BC-476 BC), it was regarded as a city of great strategic importance and many famous battles took place here. Relics of these battles can still be found in the area. Another interesting aspect of Yichang is that the city is the home of several eminent persons in Chinese history. The most well-known is the patriotic poet Quyuan in the Warring States Period(476 BC - 221 BC). Quyuan committed suicide in the Miluo River of Yichang after discovering that the kingdom he served was to be conquered. The Dragon Boat Festival held annually by Yichang people is to commemorate the anniversary of Quyuan's death.

Yichang is also famous for its local products: oranges, persimmons, Chinese gooseberries, tea, etc. They are sold in the streets or lanes, and delight us with their excellent flavor. It's a good choice for visitors to buy some to take home for families and friends. The cuisine of Yichang is very similar to that of Chongqing. Hot pepper and chilli powder play an important role in people's diets. Restaurants, local cafes and even street stalls can offer diners delicious local specialties.

Sanyou(Three Travelers) Cave

Yichang Sanyou Cave,Yangtze River CruiseLocated ten kilometres from Yichang and at the northern exit of Xiling Gorge, Sanyou Cave offers possibly the best cave scenery in the Three Gorges region. Picturesque scenery and historic scenes can be admired both in and around the cave. The cave is about thirty meters long with a magic fairyland of stalactites, stalagmites and stone pillars. There are two stories related to the origin of the cave's name. It could be traced back to the Tang Dynasty(618-907). In 819, three Tang dynasty poets Bai Juyi, Bai Xingjian and Yuan Zhen met up in Yichang and made an excursion to this cave. While being impressed by the eerie scenery, they created and inscribed some poems on the cave walls. They were considered as the "First Three Travelers". During the Song Dynasty(960-1279) , the famous litterateur Su Xun with his two sons Su Shi and Su Zhe--also two noted writers visited here twice and wrote poems and articles about it. Soon this cave became famous throughout China. Many poem inscriptions on the interior cliff bear in different calligraphy styles and have a high value in the study of Chinese literature. Near the entrance to the cave is a small natural spring. Local superstition holds that if a woman washes her hands in its water, her culinary skills will be greatly improved. There is also a ear cave aside offering a panoramic view of the Yangtze River.

Chinese Sturgeon Museum

Yichang Chinese Sturgeon MuseumThe Chinese Sturgeon Museum is located on the islet in Xiaoxita in Yichang. It was established in 1993 by the Chinese Sturgeon Research Institute which is using artificial breeding techniques to try to preserve this endangered species. The Chinese Sturgeon, also known as the Green Sturgeon, has a history of 140 million years, and is thought to have lived at the same time as dinosaurs. That is why it is called a "living fossil". it is a migration fish. Between the summer and autumn every year, it used to swim to the upper reaches of the Yangtze to spawn then carried its fry back to the lower reaches. The sturgeon can grow up to 4 meters(13ft) in length, weighs up to more than 1000 pound, ranking the biggest of all species of sturgeon in the world and the biggest animal in the Yangtze River. However, since the dam of the Yangtze has blocked the sturgeon's route, the Chinese sturgeon cannot reach their spawning grounds which puts their survival at risk. In this case, the Chinese Sturgeon Research Institute was set up in 1982 to research the reproduction of the Chinese sturgeon in order to preserve them. From 1984, over 4 million young Chinese sturgeon have been reintroduced to the Yangtze River and the Chinese government is taking more measures to protect this kind of valuable and rare species.

Dragon Boat Racing

Dragon Boat RacingFeaturing both Chinese tradition and modern sporting spirit, Dragon Boat Racing has become an international aquatic sport. The Dragon Boat Races of Yichang are world famous. Every year the International Dragon Boat Rally is taking place in Yichang city. Teams from around the world are taking part in the contest, making it a splendid occasion. Legend has it that the Dragon Boat Racing originated in China over 2000 years ago, when the great patriot Qu Yuan threw himself into the river to drown himself, and Nearby fishermen rushed in their boats to try to save him, but they were too late. Henceforth, Dragon boat racing is held on the same day each year, sometime in mid June, to commemorate the death of Qu Yuan and represent the rescue attempt. For competition events, dragon boats are generally rigged with decorative Chinese dragon heads and tails. In the center of the boat was a canopied shrine. Behind the shrine sat drummers, gong-beaters and cymbal-crashers that would set the pace for the paddlers. Be sure to sit close enough to the water's edge to watch the rowers pulling on their oars, propelling their slender boats towards the finish line. All the noise and pageantry created an atmosphere of gaiety and excitement for the participants and spectators.

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