The Yangtze River winds through Hubei Province in the heart of China and through some of the country’s most spectacular scenery. Along a 75 mile (120.7 kilometer) stretch of the river sits the Three Gorges: an area famous not only for its stunning scenery but also for its numerous archeological sites, many of which are now underwater.
As you cruise down the Yangtze River through the Three Gorges you’ll be traveling in the footsteps of Chinese novelists and poets whose literary works were inspired by the geography of the Yangtze Region. Many events in the fourteenth century novel The Romance of the Three Kingdoms took place along the banks of the river.
Heading east from Chongqing, the Yangtze passes through the Qutong Gorge, the smallest of the three. The 5 mile (8 kilometer) journey through the gorge passes beneath the Chijia and Baiyan Mountains with cliff inscriptions engraved along the way, some dating back more than 1,000 years. Passing through the 21 mile (33.8 kilometer) long Wuxia Gorge can be a claustrophobic experience as the river narrows between two sheer cliff walls. The final gorge, before the river reaches Yichang, is the Xiling Gorge, the longest and deepest of the three measuring 41 miles (66 kilometers). Although all three gorges are unique, they are equally enthralling.