Chongqing is famous for the towering mountains and roaring rivers, which have witnessed the local civilization of over 3000 years. Chongqing covers a large area crisscrossed by rivers and mountains. The Daba Mountains stand in the north, the Wushan Mountains in the east, the Wuling Mountains in the southeast and the Dalou Mountains in the south. The whole area slopes down from north and south towards the Yangtze valley, with sharp rises and falls. The area is featured by mountain and hills, with large sloping areas at different heights. Typical karst landscape is common in this area, and stone forests, forests of peaks, limestone caves and valleys can be found in many places. The Yangtze River runs through the whole area from west to east, covering a course of 665 kilometers, cutting through the Wushan Mountains at three places and forming the well-known Three Gorges: the Qutang, the Wuxia and the Xiling gorges. Coming from northwest and running through "the Jialing Lesser Three Gorges" of Libi, Wentang and Guanyin, the Jialing River joins the Yangtze in Chongqing.
The central urban area of Chongqing, or Chongqing proper, is a beautiful city with its unique features. Built on mountains and embraced by the Yangtze and Jialing rivers, it is known as a "mountain city" and a "city on rivers". The night scene of the city is very charming, with millions of lights and their reflection on the rivers, forming another Milky Way. With its special topographical features, Chongqing has the unique magnificent scenery of mountain, rivers, forests, springs, waterfalls, gorges and caves. The best natural scenery is found in the Yangtze Three Gorges. High cliffs standing face to face on both side of the Yangtze, forming a natural gallery of arts. Each of the three gorges has its special charm: the Qutang Gorge is imposing and magnificent, the Wuxia Gorge elegant and graceful, and the Xiling Gorge precipitous and perilous. There are the even more beautiful Lesser Three Gorges on the Daning River and the Lesser Three Gorges on the Madu River. Li Bai (701-762), the great poet of the Tang Dynasty, inspired by the scenery, chanted while touring through the Three Gorges, and left the world an immortal poem:
Chongqing maintains its regional importance in defense, politics, trade, and logistics for long; its glories and growth marked the history of China. In the recent 100 years, Chongqing was first the commercial and trade center of the region, then the wartime capital of then China and now on the path for greater prospect. It was an ancient military fort and now the hub connecting China's vast west and eastern coast as well as the rest of the world. It was China's ancient regional trade center and now the economic center of the upper Yangtze. It was a town specialized in entrepot trade and now the largest industrial & commercial city of the region. It was a port city based in the Sichuan Basin and now a municipality opened to the whole world.
Chongqing is now at a new momentum, a momentum for broader achievements. This attributes to three unprecedented opportunities: the construction of the Three Gorges Dam Project and the migration of residents in the Three Gorges Reservoir Region, the establishment of the municipality directly under the central government, and China's Go West Strategy. This brings new vigor, new vision to Chongqing and turns a new folio on Chongqing's history.