If people ask you what the biggest city in China is and you answer
“Chongqing,” you might be correct. This huge city, both in terms of
land size and total population, is near the end of the navigable
part of the Yangtze River for large ships. It was a part of Sichuan
Province, but it was made a “municipality” in 1997. In China, a
municipality is a big city with a big territory. Chongqing is one
of four municipalities in the country. It is a city with a long
history, and it was important as an inland port near the rich
Sichuan region. Traders came overland or by river. It is located at
the place where the Jialing River meets the Yangtze River. Perhaps
because the Chongqing area was out of the usual travel routes, the
fragile rock carvings at Dazu and the fragile natural cave scenery
at Wulong remained comparatively unspoiled. Around the Chongqing
urban area, there are some scenic and historical highlights such as
Dazu County with ancient rock carvings and art, the rocky scenery
at Wulong, the Zigong Dinosaur Museum, the Yangtze River and the 3
Chongqing’s territory is mainly between Sichuan Province in the
north and Guizhou Province in the south. It also touches three
other provinces. This gives an idea of about how extensive the
territory is. It covers about 82,000 square kilometers, and about
34 million people live in the entire territory. The Chongqing urban
area has about 8,000,000 people. This puts it at about the same
size as Wuhan down the river. Chongqing is quickly growing. Along
with the main city, there are smaller cities and towns.
Now it is known as a big industrial city close to oil fields and
iron mines that is benefiting from the supply of cheap electricity
from the newly opened 3 Gorges Dam nearby that is designed to put
out the power of 15 nuclear power plants. It has a big shipbuilding
industry and a big automobile industry.
The city wants to develop a big hi-tech and electronics industry.
The government wants to develop China’s western region that is
sparsely populated. People displaced from the dam construction have
been moved to Chongqing. The dam produced one of the world’s
biggest artificial lakes and displaced hundreds of thousands.
Highlights in the region include seeing the 3 Gorges Dam and
reservoir, taking a cruise on the Yangtze, visiting some of the
small ethnic towns like Laitan, going to natural areas, and seeing
the Dazu frescoes and statues. The ancient art sites in Dazu
Country are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. A newly opened-up
area for hiking and sightseeing near Chongqing is the Wulong South China Karst that was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2007. There
are natural towers of limestone, stone bridges and limestone caves.
The area was seldom traveled by tourists until recently.
Visitors can also see giant pandas at Chongqing Zoo. Chongqing is
close to the city of Chengdu, which is one of the major habitats of
giant pandas. Please click the picture below to see our Giant
Pandas Special Report.