Located on the edge of the Yungui Plateau, Chongqing is intersected by the Jialing River and the upper reaches of the Yangtze. Known as the Shan Cheng (Mountain City) thanks to the hills covering the peninsular, it is the only metropolitan area in China without significant numbers of bicycles.
During the Second Chinese–Japanese War (1937-1945) it was Chiang Kai-shek’s provisional capital and heavily bombed by the Japanese Air Force. Many factories and universities were moved from eastern China to Chongqing during the war, transforming it from inland port to a heavy-industrial city.
In the 1990s, Chongqing became the spearhead of China's effort to develop its western regions and coordinate the resettlement of refugees from the controversial Three Dams Project. Located at the head of the reservoir behind the Three Gorges Dam, with the completion of the Three Gorges project its reservoir will bring ocean-going ships to the quays of Chongqing. The hope is that the megalopolis may become a Chinese Chicago, opening up the interior and shifting the country's centre of gravity west.
Points of interest in the city include Luohan Si - a Ming-era temple, Chongqing Museum, Ciqi Kou (just outside the city) – a famous porcelain production centre with lots of teahouses, and Stilwell Museum, former home of U.S General ‘Vinegar Joe’ Stilwell. As Commander of the US Forces in China from 1942-44, Stilwell was instrumental in helping China overthrow the Japanese. Chongqing is also home to the Great Hall of the People.
Neatly dividing China into north and south, the 6340km-long Yangtze River is the third longest river in the world, winding ...