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Qutang Gorge

Qutang Gorge, starting at the White Emperor City in the west and ending at Daxi Stream in the east, is the first of the three gorges of the Yangtze River.

Qutang Gorge is famous for its sheer and spectacular precipices. With vertical cliffs of some thousand meters high as its two flanks, the Qutang Gorge is only a few dozens of meters wide just like a narrow gateway. Its widest point is more than 150 meters (500 feet) and its narrowest point is about tens of meters. The turbulent waters flowing in the deep gorge along a continuous line of peaks make a most magnificent picture. Two mountains, the Red Passage Mountain (Chijia Shan) to the north and the White Salt Mountain (Baiyan Shan) to the south, form the Kui Men entrance (Kui Gate). The steep precipices form a giant door where the tumultuous Yangtse bursts through in an exciting rush of rolling and roaring water.

Qutang Gorge has many scenic spots including Meng Liang Stairway and Hanging Monk Rock, Bellows Gorge, Rhinoceros Looking at the Moon, Chalk Wall, Daxi Culture, Iron Lock Pass and Water Stealing Hole.

Meng Liang Stairway is at the entrance to Qutang Gorge, also on the southern bank of the river and to the east of the Whitewashed Wall. More details ... ...

Opposite Meng Liang Stairway is a coffee-colored precipice called Bellows Gorge (Fengxiang Xia). More details ... ...

On the southern bank further downstream from the Bellows Gorge, there is a huge stone that resembles the body of a rhinoceros. It appears as if the rhinoceros is watching the moon over Kui Gate, hence the name Rhinoceros Watching the Moon. Against the blue sky, the dark green 'rhinoceros' is like a silhouette hanging over the gorge.

On the cliffs of White Salt Mountain (Baiyan Shan), there is a flat white stone surface called Chalk Wall. Ittowers the river on the south bank like a white washed wall, with a dozen meters high and more than 1000 meters long. On its cliff face are 900 characters of inscriptions carved in styles of cursive, regular, official and seal scripts dating from the Song Dynasty. The largest characters are 5 inches square while the smallest as tiny as a finger. The site derives its name from the limestone powder, which was used to smooth rock surfaces before carving.

Below Rhinoceros Looking at the Moon, at the eastern end of Qutang Gorge, is the town of Daxi. In 1959, archaeologists began two large excavation sites on the western bank of the small Daxi River. Seventy-four graves were discovered in an excavated area of 228 square meters. The two excavations have revealed a stratum of Neolithic Age originated over 5000 years ago. It show the world over 1200 precious cultural relics including pottery, stone, bone and jade ware as well as many fish bones and animal horns. From the later period of matriarchal clan community to patrilineal community, the culture mainly grew up on the ground of autochthonism, with less influence of exotic. The archaeologists formally named the civilization the Daxi Culture. It is an important part of the ancient culture along the Yangtze River.

On cliffs, standing at the north bank of the west end of Qutang Gorge, there are a series of parallel holes known as Water-stealing Holes. A legends said that these holes were created by Zhang Xiangzhong, a famous peasant insurgence leader, and his soldiers. Zhang occupied Baidi City as his military base, realizing the strategic importance of Kui Men. The emperor ordered his force to block the river, cutting off the water supply to the rebellion army. Zhang ordered his soldiers to chisel holes on cliffs near the river, but it did not work well. He thrown one little fish down into the gorge near the camp of the government soldiers. The soldiers saw the fish and thought they failed to cut off Zhang's water supply and so retreated soon after.

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