The Lesser Three Gorges Tourist Area in Wushan County
Minor Three Gorges of the Daning River
The Daning River rises at the south foot of Daba Mountain and flows through Wuxi County and Wushan County and joins the Yangtze River at the west end of Wu Gorge. From Wu Mountain to Dachang there lies a 60-kilometer stretch where there are the famous Minor Three Gorges, i.e. Longmen Gorge, Bawu Gorge and Dicui Gorge. It is said that the Minor Three Gorges are not inferior to the real ThreeGorges in scenery . They are even better than the Yangtze Three Gorges in some aspects . As a saying goes: Every mountain is verdant ; all the waters are green ; every peak is unique ; all the waterfalls create dreamy mists .
The jetty at the southern entrance to Longmen (Dragon Gate) Gorge is only a few kilometers from the county seat of Wushan. The old name for Longmen Gorge was Luomen Gate. A huge rock at the entrance of the gorge is shaped like a turnip . The gorge is therefore also called Turnip Gate . Only three kilometers in length , it is the shortest of the Minor Three Gorges. As the surroundings look like Kuimen, it is also called the Minor Kuimen . As soon as one enters this gorge , one will see a clear spring flowing down from a cliff on the right hand-side . It splashes down all the year round without drying and is called Dragon Gate Spring . The mountain peaks along both banks are shaped like all kinds of animals and birds , including tiger , elephant and lion . Looking up these weired peaks , one feels that one has come to a zoo. The strangest of these peaks is the Ganoderma Peak . It stands like a column supporting the sky and is surrounded by nine dragon-shaped stone blocks known as the Nine Dragon Columns . On the cliff face on the left bank are two parallel rows of square holes . Each square hole is about 20cm high and wide and 30cm deep . There is an interval of 1.6m between the holes . They are the remains of an ancient plank path built on the cliff face for people to walk on . The holes were cut first in Qin and Han Dynasties for supporting bamboo pipes to take brine from Wuxi to Wushan , where it was evaporated and made into salt . The supports were rebuilt in Tang Dynasty and turned into a plank path . The plank path ran for 120km along cliffs that even animals cannot reach . It was one of the longest and most dangerous plank path ever built in China .
The Wushan Three Little Gorges also called Daning River Three Little Gorges, zigzags about 31 miles from Wushan County in the south to the Dachang Ancient Town in the north. The Three Little Gorges refer to the three gorges of the lower reaches of Daning River (the largest branch of Yangtze River) in Wushan County - Dragon Gate Gorge (Longmen Xia), Misty Gorge (Bawu Xia), and Emerald Gorge (Dicui Xia). Because of the beauty of Three Little Gorges, it has been said that although Wushan Three Little Gorges are not the Three Gorges of Yangtze River, they are almost the same.
When the cruise ship reaches Wu Gorge, the vale of Daning River is within sight. Scenery along the Daning River is elegantly stunning with beautiful peaks, dangerous shoals and unusual stones. The Three Little Gorges, with their combination of natural scenery and historic relics, are the highlight of Daning River scenery. Drifting along the gorges by sitting in a rubber dinghy can add an extra dimension to the trip.
The tourist area has the Daning River as its center and radiates into the surrounding area. The major scenic spots include the Lesser Three Gorges on the Daning River, the Least Three Gorges on the Madu River, the ancient town of Dachang, the site of the Daxi Culture, and the ruins of ape-man at Longgupo.
The Site of Daxi Culture
It is in the town of Daxi, 45 kilometers west of Wushan County and 15 kilometers east of the Fengjie County seat. The Daxi Culture belonging to the primitive culture in the Changjiang River valley appeared 5,000 - 6,000 years ago when the later matriarchy was in its heyday and the early patriarchial society was in the bud. More than 1 ,250 historical relics have been brought to light, including stone axes, chisels in the shape of an elongated pointed jade tablet, pottery spinning wheels, and other production tools as well as earthenware, jade, and relief sculptures of human faces.
The Plank Road Along the Daning River
Chiselled into the face of cliffs, the plank road zigzags for more than 100 kilometers along the Daning River. No final conclusion has yet been reached as when the road was built and who built it. Archaeologists believe that it is from ancient times, and others hold that it was erected to support the pipeline for the transmission of salt solution because there is a rich salt mine on the upper reaches of the Daning River.
The Lesser Three Gorges
They are the Longmen, Bawu, and Dicui gorges on a 6,000-meter section of the Daning River, a tributary of the Changpang River, in Wushan County. Cliffs rise abruptly skyhigh on both sides and are covered with verdant plants. The gorges feature swift, crystal-clear water, enchanting peaks, and exotic rocks. One would be intoxicated with the green hills and blue water and have no time to take in all the scenes when riding a boat upstream.