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China River Ports

John

Deckhand
Shibaozhai - China

One of the Yangstze River's spectacular sites, the Shibaozhai Temple is an extraordinary 12-story wooden pagoda built against the side of a sheer 720ft high cliff. Over 400 years old, this Ming Dynasty marvel of architecture has been named the "Pearl of the Yangtze".
 

John

Deckhand
Suzhou - China

Suzhou is situated in the south of Jiangsu Province, in the middle of the Yangtze Delta. It is on the shores of Taihu Lake, bordering on Shanghai in the east, Zhejiang Province in the south , Taihu Lake in the west and the Yangtze River in the north. Suzhou was established in 514 BC but was named in A.D.581 during the Sui dynasty. Suzhou means 'Plentiful Water' and the city is known as the Oriental Venice. Surrounded by hills, fields but mostly water this is a picturesque city. Streets and alleys in Suzhou are side by side with canals and small bridges.

Suzhou is famous for its gardens and there were once over 200 gardens in the city - 69 of them are still in good order today. The Wangshi Garden, built in 1140 is one of China's most exquisite. The four classical gardens of Suzhou are The Surging Waves Pavilion, The Lion Grove Garden, The Humble Administrator's Garden and The Lingering Garden, all representing the different styles of Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties.
 

John

Deckhand
Three Gorges Dam - China

The Three Gorges Dam on the Yangstze River, the largest water conservancy project ever under taken is now being built at Sandouping in the middle of Xiling Gorge, the longest one among the famous Three Gorges.

The Three Gorges Dam will be 2,335m long, 185m high, 18m wide on top and 130m wide at the bottom. The Dam will raise the river to a level of 175m above sea level, creating a 370 mile long reservoir with a storage capacity of 39.9 billion cubic meters extending from the dam-site all the way to Chongqing. 570,000 acres of farmland and 1000 towns and villages in 19 counties and cities will be flooded, causing 1.3 million people to be relocated.

The construction of the project will cost 230 billion Chinese Yuan, an equivalent of 28 billion US dollars. The purposes for building this huge dam are flood control, electricity, navigation and irrigation.

The construction of the dam formally began under way in 1994.The first stage of the Three Gorges Dam project is scheduled for completion in 2003. Although the scenery will change along the Yangtze with the construction of Three Gorges Dam, new sites and scenery will be created. For example, a submarine museum will be built to preserve the inscriptions on the White Crane Ridge, and many historical sites will be moved to higher ground. After the dam is completed in 2009, ships will continue cruising the Yangtze River; passengers will then be passing through the largest national park in the world, which will be established upon completion of the dam.
 

John

Deckhand
Tianjin - China

Tianjin, lies on a low plain adjacent to Bohai Bay, a shallow inlet of the Yellow Sea. Tianjin serves as a seaport gateway to Beijing, the capital of China, only 85 miles away. Tianjin, is China's third-largest city with 12 million residents and a history that dates back 4,000 years.

Colourful sections of town include the aptly-named Food Street, Ancient Culture Street, Dress Street, and the Antiques Market, which buzzes with activity during the day. One of China's pre-eminent opera houses, the Tianjin Opera Museum, offers regular performances of many famous Chinese operas. The centuries old art of carpet weaving is the main activity in town. The city is also famous for its handcrafted clay figurines hand-painted woodblock prints, and extensive seafood cuisine.
 

John

Deckhand
Wu Gorge - China

One of the spectacular barrier of solid limestone ridges on the Yangstze River known as the Three Gorges, this is noted for its magnificent scenery, lush green mountains and deep valley. Wu or Witches Gorge, 27 miles long, boasts sheer cliffs and 12 cloud covered mountains including Goddess Peak that legends say protects the boatmen from 12 dragons.
 

John

Deckhand
Xian - China

Xian is home of the world-famous life-size Terra Cotta Army, discovered in 1974 after being buried with the first Qin emperor for 22 centuries. The city of Xi'an lies in the southern part of GuanZhong Plain in Shaanxi province with Qinling Mountains to the north and the Weihe River to the south. It is 875 miles north of Hong Kong and 560 miles southwest of Beijing. As one of the six ancient capitals in China, Xi'an served as the seat of 12 imperial capitals for 1,120 years. The massive City Wall and Moat that surround the city are a monument to the importance of Xian.

See the Museum of Qin Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses, one of the most significant archaeological excavations of the 20th century. Three exhibition halls, the largest of which is 600 feet by 200 feet, house the continuing excavation of an army of 7,000 terra-cotta soldiers and horses that guard the tomb of Qin Shihuangdi, the first emperor of a unified China. It is a stunning exhibit of ancient artifacts that is well laid-out and easy to view. The site, unearthed in 1974, is around one mile east of Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Mausoleum. Upon ascending the throne at the age of 13 (in 246 BC), Qin Shi Huang, later the first Emperor of all China, had work begun on his mausoleum. It took 11 years to finish and it is speculated that many buried treasures and sacrificial objects had accompanied the emperor in his after life and are buried in the area around the mausoleum. Life size terracotta figures of warriors and horses arranged in battle formations are the star features of the pits unearthed. They are replicas of what the imperial guard should look like in those days of pomp and vigor.

In Xian you can also visit the Banpo Village Museum - dating back more than 6,000 years, the village has been meticulously restored; the Dayan Pagoda, also known as the Big Wild Goose Pagoda - this seven-story, 211 foot structure was built in 652 AD and offers a spectacular view of the ancient city walls; the Muslim Mosque - built in the traditional Chinese architectural style, this is the largest and best preserved mosque in China, dating from 742 AD; Stele Forest museum - dating back to 1090 AD, it holds a treasured collection of 2,300 stone tablets displaying the different styles of Chinese calligraphy from many dynasties; the Provincial Museum - displays more than 2,000 ancient artifacts depicting the evolution and development of Chinese civilization; Huaqing Hot Springs - nestled in the beautiful Lishan Mountains, originally a royal resort 2,800 years ago.
 
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