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Chongqing Travel Guide

Chongqing Overview

Chongqing is the largest municipality in southwest China. It is a modern port city on the upper reaches of the Yangtze River at the confluence of the Yangtze and Jialing Rivers. With an area of 31, 800 square miles (82,400 square kilometers), it shares borders with provinces of Hubei, Hunan, Guizhou, Sichuan, and Shaanxi.

As China’s fourth municipality after Beijing, Shanghai, and Tianjin, Chongqing has maintained rapid economic development while preserving a wonderful natural environment.

Known as the ‘Mountain City’, it has a wavy terrain and encompasses a wealth of water reserves, mineral resources, dense forests, and abundant flora and fauna.

The city attracts visitors from home and abroad for its natural wonders and cultural heritage. As a common starting port for the Yangtze River cruise, tourists can go for a downstream tour to the magnificent Three Gorges.

Chongqing Facts
Chongqing History & Culture
Chongqing Transportation
Best Time for Chongqing Travel
Best Places for Chongqing Travel

Basis Information

• Chinese Name: 重庆
• Location: Southwest of China
• Dialing code: (+86) 023
• Zip code: 400000
• Area: Chongqing has an area of 82,400 square kilometers
• Main attractions in Chongqing: Dazu Rock Carving, Ancient Town of Ciqikou, Chongqing People Square, Liberation Stele

Geography and Climate

Chongqing is the largest inland city of China, located in the southeast of the Sichuan Basin at the junction of the Yangtze River and Jialing River. It is an extremely large metropolis on the upper reaches of the Yangtze and an industrial and commercial importance in West China. Surrounded by waters on three sides, and by the mountains on four sides, Chongqing is laso known as ‘mountain city’, ‘foggy city’ and ‘furnace city’.

Chongqing has a humid subtropical climate with the two-season monsoonal variations typical of South Asia. As one of the “Three Furnaces”, the summer season is amoung the hotest in China, with highs of around 33 °C (91 °F) in August, in the central portions of the city. Yet even in the hottest weather the wind is often cool, making such high temperatures more bearable. Winters are fairly mild, but damp and overcast; average January highs are 9.5 °C (49.1 °F). Its location in the Sichuan Basin causes Chongqing to have one of the lowest sunshine totals annually in China.

The History of Chongqing can be traced back to 3,000 years ago, endowing with much historical and cultural significance. Traces of man’s presence have been found from as far back as the end of the Old Stone Age 20,000 to 30,000 years ago.

From the beginning of the Shang Dynasty (16th century BC) to the close of the Warring States Period (221 BC), it was the capital of the state of Ba. From the Qin Dynasty through the Eastern Han Dynasty (221 BC – 220 AD), it was a prefecture also known as Ba. During the Sui and Tang Dynasties, (AD 581-907), it was known as the sub-prefecture of Yuzhou, hence its standardby name ‘Yu’. Subsequently, during the Northern Song Dynasty (AD 960-1127), it was renamed Gongzhou. In 1189, during the Southern Song Dynasty, Zhao Dun, later the Guangzong Emperor, was given the title Prince of Gong. Regarding this as an exceedingly joyous event, he upgraded its status to that of a prefecture and renamed it as ‘Chongqing” which means ‘double celebration’ in Chinese, the name has been carried until now.

Name Origin of Chongqing

It is located at the confluence of the Jialing and Yangtze Rivers and is nestled among the gently sloping surrounding mountains. Although the name of the city has changed several times including Jiangzhou, Ba Shire, Chuzhou, Yuzhou and Gongzhou, kingdoms, shires, prefectures and counties. Most names involved the name Ba because this city was the center of the Ba Kingdom established by Ba ethnic groups and local aborigines who were conquered in the areas near the Yangtze, Wujiang and Jialing rivers. The Wendi Emperor of the Sui Dynasty (581-618) changed Chuzhou to Yuzhou and the mountainous city was called Yu for short for a long while. In the year of 1189, Song (960-1279) Guangzong was crowned as Gong King and the emperor of the whole country in succession. He gladly renamed Gongzhou to Chongqing meaning ‘double gaiety’.

Ba Kingdom

Western Sichuan was called Ba Fang during the Xia Dynasty (21st – 16th century BC) and Ba Dian during the Shang Dynasty (16th – 11th century BC). Ba Dian delivered a tribute to the Shang Court every year. Ba people did not accept oppression under the Shang and bravely joined the Zhou (11th century BC – 221BC) Army in a crusade against the last king of the Shang Dynasty. Shang was finally defeated and the Ba group was authorized to be Ba Kingdom, one of the seventy-one vassal states of the Western Zhou. This city was approved to be its capital during the 11th Century BC.

The Ba Kingdom reached its heyday from the last years of the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC – 476 BC) to late Warring States Period (476 BC – 221 BC), during which it’s bronze culture had reached its zenith. However, the fortification of Chongqing didn’t start until 316 BC according to the annals of history. At that time, Ba and Shu rivaled each other and Ba asked for help from the Qin State. The Qin conquered the Shu Kingdom and spared Ba Kingdom, too. The general of the Qin troop, Zhang Yi, conducted major new construction projects. He was the first person in history to truly build the city including the impressive fortification of Chongqing. Until the year of 316 BC of the middle Warring State period, the Ba Kingdom had existed for 800 years.

Ba Culture

During the early Warring States Period, the Ba Kingdom moved from the upper reaches of Hanjiang River to Eastern Sichuan around the main stream of the Yangtze River. Bronze culture assimilated with local aboriginal Neolithic culture, forming the Ba Culture, and the origin of Bayu Culture. This city is the epicenter of this culture.

Representatives of Bayu Culture

Bayu Dance is a kind of folk martial dance of ancient Bayu Area. Ba people were well known for their bravery and dash as well as being good at singing and dancing. It was said in ancient records that Ba troops always sang and danced while marching to their crusade against the Shang Dynasty. During the early Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD), Bayu Dance was introduced to the imperial palace, becoming a royal court dance for appreciation, reception of envoys and guests and also official rites. This kind of dance gradually disappeared after the Tang Dynasty (618-907), and yet it was still popular among common people.

Folk songs of Ba people were also famous not only in local areas but also in the neighboring Chu State in ancient times. Chongqing people still sing of their lovely mountains and rivers. Work songs of boatmen are a part of the colorful folk civilization of Chongqing.

Bayu dance and songs are considered to be the most important elements of this culture. Additionally, Ba people brewed their own fine wine, had their own burial ceremonies (boat coffin, hanging coffin and other kinds of burials). They had symbolized character, totems, bronze sculptures, fascinating legends and myths. These are all symbols of this culture.

Chongqing as a capital

In its some 3,000 years history, it had been a capital city three times. Capital of Ba Kingdom: in 1066BC of the Zhou Dynasty.

Capital of Xia Kingdom: In 1363, the general Ming Yuzhen of peasant rebel army cleaned up the power of the Yuan Court in Sichuan and proclaimed himself emperor of the Xia Kingdom.

Secondary capital of the Republic of China: In 1937 when the Sino-Japanese War erupted, the National Government moved to Chongqing later and made this city as the assistant capital.

Chongqing is located in the central and western parts of China, railway, waterway, highway, aviation, pipeline and other transport mode develop rapidly. Chongqing is the only large city collects water resources, land and air traffic in the China’s Yangtze River upstream region, and ti is one of the comprehensive transportation hubs in southwest China.

Airport

Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport
♦ Address: At the Lianglu Town of Yubei District
♦ Official website: www.cqa.cn/u/jichang/

Chongqing Jiangbei international airport was established on January 22, 1990, located in the Lianglu town of Yubei district that 21 km away from the northeast of Chongqing downtown. Jiangbei International Airport is one of the three civil airports in Chongqing. It is also the main base airport of Chongqing Airlines, West Air Co., LTD, China Express Airlines, and base airport of Sichuan Airlines, Air China and China Southern Airlines.

Railway

Chongqing Railway Station
Chongqing station, founded in 1952, officially put into operation on July 1, 1952, is located in Caiyuanba street no. 249 south road Yuzhong district in Chongqing. It is one of two major railway passenger transport hubs in Chongqing (the other is Chongqing North Station).Chongqing station is close to the Yangtze river, adjacent to the Caiyuanba bridge, people can take Chongqing rail line 1 and the rail line 3 to Chongqing Railway Station.

♦ Address: 249 Nanqu road, Caiyuanba, Yuzhong district, Chongqing
♦ Tel: (023) 61681111, 61681114, 63862607

Chongqing North Railway Station
Chongqing North Railway Station, commonly known as the Longtousi Station, located in Yubei District, Chongqing. On October 22, 2006 it was officially put into operation. It was governed by Chengdu Railway Bureau, is now the principal station at present. It is one of Chongqing two major railway passenger stations (the other is Chongqing Station) and Chongqing largest railway passenger stations.

Located near Longtou Temple at north, Chongqing North Railway Station has 3 layers, including 1 underground layer. It was decorated with glass curtain wall and light color material which made the outer appearance in silver. The whole construction area is 13121 square meters.

♦ Address: near the 51 Kunlun Avenue, Yubei District City, Chongqing,
♦ How to get: there are so many buses and railway lines to Chongqing North Station, like taking bus No.105, 138, 166, 841, BRT, 558, 616 to there and get off at Chongqing North Railway Station, or you can take Rail Line CRT3, CRT4, CRT10 to there.

Spring (March to May): Chongqing spring, temperature is appropriate and joyful. It is very suitable for viewing natural scenery in spring. Spring temperature is instable, and there is large temperature difference between day and night.

Summer (June to August): Although the summer heat is high, but eating hot pot in summer to is a kind of enjoyment. Because Chongqing summer is so hot, so choose summer to travel tourists have better bring some medicine for preventing heatstroke, such as Ageratum Liquid, ageratum rheo-camphoradin, etc. And if you eat hot pot in summer, remember to bring some medicines to cool you off.

Autumn (September to October): During late summer and early autumn, Chongqing often accompanied by silence rain at night, thus there is “Evening Rain in Bashan Mountain”. Although the scenery is not as good as two season’s natural beauty in spring and winter, but also can experience the feeling of unique artistic conception of poem “the patter of evening rain in Bashan Mountain filled the autumn pool”. Autumn is overcast and rainy, cool. And because of the fog is heavy, the mountains are mist-shrouded, therefore Chongqing is known as the “foggy city”.

Winter (November to next February): And in the winter because of rain and snow weather day is less, so also it is a good time to travel. And Chongqing in the winter is the time when wintersweet flower in the Nanshan Mountain open, standing on the hill there is fragrance of flowers. The weather of rain and snow in the winter is less, but more foggy days.

Dazu Rock Carvings: It is located in Dazu district area Chongqing municipality directly under the central government, 167 km away from Chongqing urban nine districts, over 50,000 carved stone figures relating mainly to Buddhism are spread around 74 places. It is religious inscriptions on precipices during the period of late Tang dynasty and early Song dynasty, which was given priority to with Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism statues. The content and craftsmanship are best at Beishan Hill and Baoding Hill. Beishan cliff carvings statues located in Beishan Hill which is 1.5 km of Dazu district in Chongqing area. Beishan cliff carvings statues are about more than three hundred meters long, is the national key cultural relic’s protection units, the world cultural heritage.

Ancient Town of Ciqikou: It is located in Chongqing Shapingba district, west of the main Chongqing area, and it gains its name of ware (ware in Chinese pronounce Ciqi).Ancient Town of Ciqikou close to Jialing River in the east, was a very busy land and water wharf, later with the development of the highway, the port gradually was on the decline. Ancient Town of Ciqikou now is more of a good place for leisure and experience folk customs over the weekend.

Walking in the dozens of ancient streets of Ancient Town of Ciqikou, on both side of street is the architecture in the style of the Ming and Qing dynasties, and the road is blue flagstone. Of course, like other ancient town near the city, everything in sight is renovated again in recent years. But this does not affect you feel the local conditions and customs of “old Chongqing” in here.

Liberation Stele Pedestrian Street: It is located in Yuzhong district in Chongqing, is always the most prosperous commercial center in Chongqing. There are numerous department stores, hotels, restaurants, etc., is a good place for shopping, food, and walk around Chongqing, also it is one of the fashionable landmarks of Chongqing. The perimeter of the pedestrian street in the Liberation Stele as the center, including Minquan Road, Minzu Road, Zourong Road, Bayi Road and Wuyi Road etc. Many malls, many snacks, many beauties, are “three many” in the pedestrian street. You can get almost all food and snack of Chongqing on the pedestrian street. And here is a Baiyi Road Haochi Jie Food Street, you can find cheap and delicious hot and sour noodle, mountain city small Tangyuan and Chaoshou here. Here the Liberation Stele on the pedestrian street is the only monument in memory of the victory of war of resistance against Japanese aggression.