Qutang Gorge is a canyon and the first of the Three Gorges on Yangtze River in China. It is located immediately downstream of Baidicheng (ancient village) as the river passes between two great mountains - Chijia (on the north) and Baiyan (on the south). The other two gorges that follow are named Wu Gorge (2nd) and Xiling Gorge (3rd and largest).
Kuimen Gate is the point where Yangtze passes between both mountains. This is also the entrance to Qutang Gorge - being the first (shortest and narrowest) of the three gorges. Qutang Gorge has length of 8 km (5 mi) and its widest point is just 150 m (500 ft).
The scenery is spectacular as the mountains on both sides soar up to 1200 m (4,000 ft). The combination of narrow canyons and high mountains creates spectacular vistas, ranking Qutang Gorge the most beautiful of China's Three Gorges.
Wu Gorge (aka Great Gorge) is a canyon and the second of the Three Gorges system. Wu Gorge is formed by Wu River and stretches approx 45 km (28 mi) between Wushan and Guandukou. The gorge is located between Qutang Gorge (1st and shortest / downstream) and Xiling Gorge (3rd and largest / upstream).
Xiling Gorge is a canyon and the third (and largest) of the Three Gorges. It is located between Xiangxi and Yichang. The gorge is named after Mount Xiling (at the gorge's eastern end. Xiling Gorge forms almost half the Three Gorges system's length. The other two gorges are named Qutang Gorge (1st and shortest) and Wu Gorge (2nd).
Located in the middle of Xiling Gorge is China's famous Three Gorges Dam at Sandoupíng. Before the dam's construction, Xiling Gorge was very dangerous for navigation, with many and strong whirlpools and rapids along the route. Following the dam's completion in 2003, the river's depth increased to over 100 m (330 ft) in some of the reservoir's areas.
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