Qutang Gorge Introduction

Just 8 kilometers (5 miles), from Baidi City the Qutang Gorge can be seen in all it's splendor. This portion of Qutang gorge is within the territory of Chongqing, which starts from the famous tourist attraction --Baidi City to the Town of Daxi. Although the shortest one of the Three Gorges, Qutang Gorge stands out with its imposing steepness of the lofty mountains and the rip current flapping on the cliffs.

Down stream the river narrows sharply at the entrance of the gorge where bluffs on both sides tower like royal guards. The bluffs look like a huge door which is about to close; and people praise it as majestic Kui Men (Kui Door) so Qutang Gorge is also called Kui Gorge. Perilous peaks along both sides of the Gorge tower toward the sky, many reaching a height of 1,000 meters (3,281 feet) and some of 1,500 meters (4,921 feet). Confined to a narrow channel of some 100 meters (0.06 mile) wide, the water rushes torrentially through the narrowest section. Being only several score meters wide, the cloud-capped mountains are drawn much closer. People on a boat may find themselves in such a deep hollow which seems a chasm into the earth's core.

Scenic spots and historical relics along the shores add feelings of peace to the unique experience. The rising water line has impacted some sights, and a few spots are now under water never to be seen again but many relics and sites have been moved and relocated. Stone inscriptions on the Fenbi Wall and the Plank Road  built along the cliff have been protected and are being moved. It is expected that these sights will be opened to public very soon. The changed landform is endowed with even more tourist potential since great efforts are being made to explore and open new sights by the government.

Iron Lock Pass

Although Chinese history has spanned many centuries, the importance of Yangtze River from the military perspective has been rarely mentioned and discussed - Iron Lock Pass is one of the rare that is the remains of a military setup left from the South Song Dynasty (1127-1279).

In the north bank where an anabranch Caotang River meets the Yangtze River, you can see two iron pillars which are two to three meters high above the river, erected on a reef. In the cliffs opposite across the Yangtze River, chiseled holes can be found homogeneously spread out across the cliff walls. As the iron chains were linked between the pillar and the holes, the possibility of passing by through the Yangtze River was small. Xu Zongwu, a general of the South Song Dynasty, once deployed seven iron chains to prevent the invasions of the Mongolia Tribe in the year 1264. It was recorded that the chains measured a total length of 920 meters (3018 feet).

This military setup to deny passage across the river originated in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) but it was often used as a 'toll-gate' system in peacetime as well. Traders on the Yangtze at that time were required to pay taxes when they crossed the river. Although the Iron Lock Pass lacks the grandeur of the Great Wall or the exquisiteness of the Dunhuang grottos, it is nevertheless an epitome of the Yangtze civilization.


What to See :

 Ancient Plank Roads 
 Bellows Gorge & Rhinoceros Looking at the Moon
 Chalk Wall & Water-Stealing Holes 
 Meng Liang Stairway

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