Municipalities of China: Chongqing - the Fog Capital and having the most spicy cuisine of China

Updated:Sat, Jul 21, 2012 08:24 AM    Related:Chinese municipalities

Chinese municipalities

Chongqing municipality 重庆, located in southwest China, is the largest municipality of China. Places of Interests include the Dazu Rock Carvings, Ciqikou Ancient Town, etc. Chongqing is known for its fog and is nicknamed the Fog Capital.


General information

Area (City) 600 square km

Area (Metro) 82,403 square km

Population: 32.35 million (2007)

Coordinates: 28°10'-32°13'N 105°17'-110°11'E

January Average Temperature: 7.5°C (45.5°F)

July Average Temperature: 28°.6C (83.48°F)

Average Frost Free Days: 308 days/year

Average Elevation: 1,500 meters

Annual Rainfall: 1,000-1,450 mm

Annual Sunshine: 1,000-1,200 hours

Phone Area Code: 23

Postal Code: 400000

Chongqing (simplified Chinese: 重庆; pinyin: Chóngqìng) is a major city in southwestern mainland China. Administratively, it is one of the People's Republic of China's four direct-controlled municipalities (the other three are Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin), and the only such municipality in western China.

The municipality was created on 14 March 1997, succeeding the sub-provincial city administration that was part of Sichuan Province. In 2007, the municipality of Chongqing had a population of 32.35 million. It has jurisdiction over 19 districts, 17 counties, and four autonomous counties. With an area of 82,300 km² (31,800 mi²), it is the largest direct-controlled municipality, larger even than one province and an autonomous region, as well as Taiwan. It is possibly the world's largest municipality by area and population.

The municipal abbreviation, 渝 (Yú), was approved by the State Council on 18 April 1997. Chongqing was also a municipality of the Republic of China administration, serving as its wartime capital during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937 – 1945). Its abbreviated name is derived from the old name of a part of the Jialing River that runs through Chongqing and feeds the Yangtze River.

Geography of Chongqing

Located on the edge of the Yungui Plateau, Chongqing is intersected by the Jialing River and the upper reaches of the Yangtze (Changjiang River). It contains Daba Shan in the north, Wu Shan in the east, Wuling Shan in the southeast, and Dalou Mountain to the south. The city is very hilly and is the only major metropolitan area in China without significant numbers of bicycles.

Climate of Chongqing

Chongqing has a four-season humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), with monsoonal influences that typify much of East Asia.

As one of the "Three Furnaces" (三大火炉), Chongqing's summers are among the hottest in China, with highs of 33 to 34 °C (91 to 93 °F) in August, in the central portions of the city. Winters are somewhat mild, but damp and overcast. Chongqing's location in the Sichuan Basin causes it to have one of the lowest sunshine totals annually in China.

Due to its position on the Yangtze and strong industrial development, Chongqing is known for its fog and suffers from very heavy air pollution. Foggy weather is most prevalent during spring and winter days, which gives this city a nickname of "the Fog Capital" (Chinese: 雾都). This special weather once protected Chongqing from being overrun by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II.

Conditions are generally cooler, but not cold even during winter, in the extreme northeast and southeast portions of the municipality due to the higher elevations there.

Economy of Chongqing

Traditionally, due to its geographical remoteness, Chongqing and neighboring Sichuan are important military bases in weapons research and development.

Chongqing is China’s third-largest center of motor vehicle production and the largest for motorcycles. In 2007, it had an annual output capacity of 1 million automobiles and 8.6 million motorcycles. The municipality is also one of the 9 largest iron and steel centres in China and one of the three major aluminium producers. Agriculture remains significant. Rice and fruits (especially oranges) are the area’s main produce.

The city has also invested heavily in infrastructure to attract investment. Furthermore, the nearby Three Gorges Dam – the world’s largest – will not only supply Chongqing with power once completed but also allows ocean-going ships to reach Chongqing’s Yangtze Riverport.

Chongqing’s nominal GDP in 2008 reached 509.7 billion yuan (US$73.4 billion) while registering an annual growth of 14.3%. However, its overall economic performance is still lagging behind eastern coastal cities such as Shanghai. For instance, its per capita GDP was 18,025 yuan (US$2,595) – below the national average.

History of Chongqing

Chongqing is said to be the semi-legendary State of Ba that the Ba people supposedly established during the eleventh century BCE. By 316 BCE, however, it had been overrun by the State of Qin. The Qin emperor ordered a new city to be constructed, which was called Jiang (江州) and Chu Prefecture (楚州).

Chongqing was subsequently renamed in 581 CE (Sui Dynasty) and in 1102, to Yu Prefecture (渝州) and then Gong Prefecture (恭州). It received its current name in 1189, after Prince Zhao Dun of the Southern Song Dynasty described his crowning as king and then Emperor Guangzong as a "double/repeated happy celebration" (simplified Chinese: 双重喜庆; pinyin: shuāngchóng xǐqìng). Hence, Yu Prefecture became Chongqing subprefecture to mark the occasion.

In 1891, Chongqing became the first inland commerce port open to foreigners.

From 1929, Chongqing became a municipality of the Republic of China. During the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945), it was Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek's provisional capital and was heavily bombed by the Japanese Air Force. Due to its mountainous environment, many people were saved from the bombing. Many factories and universities were moved from eastern China to Chongqing during WWII, transforming this city from inland port to a heavily industrialized city. In late November 1949 the Nationalist KMT government fled the city after failure in civil war against Chinese Communists.

In 1954, the municipality was demoted to a sub-provincial city within the Sichuan Province of the People's Republic of China.

On 14 March 1997, the Eighth National People's Congress decided to merge the city with the neighbouring Fuling, Wanxian, and Qianjiang prefecture-level districts that it had governed on behalf of the province since September 1996. The resulting single division was the Chongqing Municipality, containing 30,020,000 people in forty-three former counties (without intermediate political levels). The municipality became the spearhead of China's effort to develop its western regions and to coordinate the resettlement of residents from the reservoir areas of the Three Gorges Dam project. Its first official ceremony took place on 18 June 1997.

Places of Interests and Tourist Attractions of Chongqing

As the provisional Capital of China for almost ten years (1937 to 1945), it was also known as one of the three headquarters of the Allies. Chongqing has many historical World War II buildings or sites(unfortunately some of them were destroyed):

* The People's Liberation Monument, located in the center of Chongqing city, attracts many visitors. It was the highest building in the area but currently is surrounded and dwarfed by numerous shopping centres. Actually this monument tower was originally named as "Monument for the victory over Axis armies" and it is the only building in whole China area for that purpose. Even today, the monument serves as the symbol for the city.

* Chongqing Museum

* Stilwell Museum for General "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell.

* Great Hall of the People (Chongqing) -based on the one in Beijing

* Renmin Hotel

* Luohan Si -Ming-era temple

* The cemetery for World War II air forces (空军坟)in Nanshan area (南山)in memory of those air force heroes who sacrificed their lives to help China during the Japanese invasion;

* The former sites for embassies of major countries during 1940s since Chungking was Capital at that time and many residence buildings/sites for the celebrities at that time (Chiang Kai-shek, H.H. Kong, 老舍Lao She, 梁实秋Liang Shiqiu et al.);

* Red Rock Village Museum is a diplomatic site for the Communist Party in Chongqing led by Zhou Enlai during World War II. It's where Mao Zedong signed the "Double 10 (October 10th) peace agreement" with the Kuomintang.

Besides those historical places, Chongqing also has many other attractions:

* The Dazu Rock Carvings (Chinese: 大足石刻; pinyin: Dàzú Shíkè), in Dazu county, are a series of Chinese religious sculptures and carvings, dating back as far as the 7th century A.D., depicting and influenced by Buddhist, Confucian and Taoist beliefs. Listed as a UNESCO World cultural Heritage Site, the Dazu Rock Carvings are made up of 75 protected sites containing some 50,000 statues, with over 100,000 Chinese characters forming inscriptions and epigraphs.

* The natural bridges (天生三桥)and Furong Cave in Wulong were listed as a World natural Heritage site (part of South China Karst).

* Ciqikou is an ancient 1000-year-old town in the Shapingba District of Chongqing. It is otherwise known as Small Chongqing. The town, located at the lower reaches of the Jialing River, was at one time an important source of chinawares and used to be a busy commercial dock during the Ming and Qing Dynasty.

* Fishing Town or Fishing City (Simplified Chinese: 钓鱼城; Traditional Chinese: 釣魚城; Pinyin: diàoyúchéng), also called the “Oriental Mecca” and “the Place That Broke God's Whip”, is one of the three great ancient battlefields of China. It is famous for its resistance to the Mongol armies in the latter half of the Song Dynasty. One of the most notable events was the death of Mongol leader Mongke Khan by cannon shot, which forced the immediate withdrawal of Mongol troops from Europe and Asia and prevented the Mongolian Empire from expanding towards Africa and Western Europe.

* Hot pot is Chongqing's local culinary specialty. Tables in hotpot restaurants usually have a central vat (or pot) where food ordered by the customers is boiled in a very spicy broth. As well as beef, pork, lotus and other vegetables, items such as pig's kidney, brain, duck's bowels, and cow's stomach are often consumed.

* The city is home to one of the largest public assembly buildings in China, the Great Hall of the People which, though built in modern times, emulates traditional architectural styles. It is adjacent to the densely populated and hilly central district, with narrow streets and pedestrian only walkways.

* A modern and well stocked zoo exhibits many national and regional animals, including the Giant Panda and the extremely rare South China Tiger.

Three Gorges

The Three Gorges (simplified Chinese: 三峡; pinyin: Sānxiá) region is a scenic area along the Yangtze River in the Chongqing municipality and Hubei(湖北)province of the People's Republic of China with a total length of approximately 200 km. The Three Gorges occupy approximately 120 km within this region. Although it is primarily famous for its scenery, the Three Gorges region is historically and culturally an important region in China.

Gorge Chinese Length (km) Range

Qutang Gorge 瞿塘峡 8 from Baidicheng (Fengjie) to Daxi

Wu Gorge 巫峡 45 from Wushan to Guandukou (Badong)

Xiling Gorge 西陵峡 66 from Zigui to Nanjin Pass (Yichang)

The Three Gorges region is located along the Yangtze River between the cities of Fengjie (奉节) of Chongqing and Yichang of Hubei.

The Three Gorges region attracted attention globally due to the construction of the Three Gorges Dam, which is changing the scenery of the region.

Three Gorges Dam

The Three Gorges Dam was constructed at a place called Sāndòupíng (三斗坪) in the middle of the Xiling Gorge. The reservoir was completed in the summer of 2006, and the water level in the Qutang, Wuxia, and the western portion of the Xiling Gorges has already begun to rise. The dam itself is projected to be completed in 2009. In addition to the impacts of the dam on the ecology and people (i.e. the mass relocation of towns and villages) of the region, the dam will also change the scenery of the Three Gorges. Because the water level will be higher, the river will be wider and the mountains will appear lower. Proponents of the dam point out that because the mountains reach several thousand feet above the river, the gorges are still likely to offer spectacular views of the surrounding cliffs, and most riverboat companies that operate in the Three Gorges intend to continue to offer tours of the region. The increase in width of the Gorges will also allow larger ships through the gorges, and it is anticipated that river traffic of all kinds will increase.

Transportation of Chongqing

Chongqing is the biggest inland river port in western China. Historically, most of its transportation, especially to eastern China, is via the Yangtze River(Changjiang River).

Chongqing is also now linked to other parts of the country through several railways and highways, including:

• Chongqing-Chengdu (Sichuan province) railway

• Chongqing-Guiyang (Guizhou province) railway

• Chongqing-Xiangfan (Hubei province) railway

• Chongqing-Huaihua (Hunan province) railway

• Chongqing-Suining (Sichuan province) express railway

• Wanzhou-Yichang (Hubei province) railway (under construction)

• Chongqing-Lanzhou (Gansu province) railway (under construction)

• Chongqing-Chengdu highway

• Chongqing-Wanxian highway

• Chongqing-Guiyang highway

Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport, located north of Chongqing provides links to most parts of China and to other countries and regions such as Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, and Thailand.

Meanwhile, the transportation system in the metropolitan area is also being developed to modern standards. Due to its hilly geography as well as Yangtze (Changjiang) and Jialing Rivers which run through it, ground transportation in the city requires an unusual number of bridges and tunnels, which increases cost dramatically. However, the highway network around the city and to nearby satellite towns are almost completed. One unique form of transportation in the city is the cable cars which are suspended over the rivers. The Chongqing Light Railway system was completed and entered service in January 2005.




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