Situated on the north shore of Qutang Gorge, the city of Fengjie has
huge towering city gates facing the Yangtze. Liu Bei of the Three
Kingdoms Period named the city "Yong'an" and on his deathbed,
he entrusted the upbringing of his son to a man named Zhuge Liang
who lived in the Palace of Everlasting Peace, or Yong'an. The site
of the palace remains to this day. The grave of Madam Gan, wife of
Liu Bei is also in the city. The city was called Fengjie during the
Tang Dynasty and was placed under the jurisdiction of Kuizhou. There
have been many poems and essays written about Yong'an in the past.
The most famous of all was by the poet Du Fu, who came to the city
and said, "Boundless vegetation droops down bleakly as the waters
of Yangtze roll along endlessly."
Kuimen Gate is at the western tip of Qutang Gorge. It is bordered
by Chijiashan to the north and Baiyanshan to the south, both of which
rise 4,920 feet high, like two huge gates. The cliffs force the water
into an area only several dozen feet wide. The water flows rapidly,
making the scenery ever more spectacular. Kuimen Gate is a symbol
of the Three Gorges and was called the most magnificent scenery in
the world by ancient Chinese writers.
Tiankeng and Difeng Scenic Zone
This scenic zone is in karst formation, with 6 places of special interest.
It stretches over 238 miles and is 23 miles from Fengjie County. Parts
of it include the world's foremost heavenly pit, the longest limestone
well, an underground river, a labyrinth and celestial cave.
Ancient Plank Road
Traces of an ancient plank road remain on the face of a steep cliff
on the north side of the Qutang Gorge. The plank road overhangs the
river below and it used to be the only passage to Sichuan. It was
built by Chinese stone craftsmen. It is the most spectacular and precarious
relic of ancient masonry.
Also known as Kui Gorge, Qutang is the first point that visitors traveling eastward reach in the Three Gorges. The first section extends from Baidicheng (White Emperor Town) to Daxi Township in Wushan County, extending about 4.9 miles. High cliffs and steep precipices with sharp edges rise one after another on either side of the narrow gorge. The poet Bai Juyi described the gorge by writing, "The shore looks like two screens. The sky has been cut out." Within the gorge there is Baidicheng, the ancient plank road built on the cliff, and the sites of Daxi culture.
Baidicheng (White Emperor Town)
Situated on the top of Baidishan Mountain on the northern shore of Qutang Gorge. Baidicheng is a beautiful sight with its vermilion walls and flying eaves. The town has a history of 2,000 years and there is a wealth of historic sites of the Shu-Han period, along with numerous stone tablet inscriptions. Du Fu, Li Bai, Bai Juyi and Su Shi, all famous poets, had visited the town during their lifetimes and left a legacy of writing in praise of this historic town, which has become a city of immortal poetry. Du Fu had written as many as 430 verses in Baidicheng.
The Eight-Position Battle Array
On the north shore of the Yangtze, between Fengjie and Baidicheng, there is a rectangular stone which stretches into the river. Lu Xun of the State of Wu defeated the army led by Liu Bei and gave chase to him. Zhuge Liang arranged a battle array with eight positions, by which means he forced the Wu army to retreat.
This is on the northern shore of Qutang Gorge, richly colored in ochre. There are wooden boxes in the shape of bellows along the cliffs. The boxes were stored here by the legendary carpenter, Lu Ban. Further finds reveal that they contain the hanging coffinsof the ancient Ba people.
Site of Daxi Culture
One can find the site of Daxi Culture where the Yangtze and Daxi rivers join in the eastern end of Qutong Gorge. Since 1955, Chinese archeologists have excavated many cultural relics of the Neolithic Age (about 5,000 years ago). They include stone artifacts, bone tools and potteries. The site has been considered as belonging to the late Neolithic Period.