Chongqing is a major city in central-western China. Administratively, it is one of the People's Republic of China's four provincial-level municipalities, and the only such municipality in western China. The municipality was created on 14 March 1997, succeeding the sub-provincial city administration that was part of Sichuan Province. The municipality of Chongqing has a registered population of 31,442,300 as of 2005. The boundaries of Chongqing municipality reach much farther into the city's hinterland than the boundaries of the other three provincial level municipalities (Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin), and much of its administrative area, which spans over 80 000 km2, is rural. It has jurisdiction over 19 districts, 17 counties, and four autonomous counties. The population of the urban area of Chongqing proper was 5.09 million (2000).
The municipal abbreviation, Y¨² ,was approved by the State Council on 18 April 1997. Chongqing was also a municipality of the Republic of China administration, serving as its wartime capital during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Its abbreviated name is derived from the old name of a part of the Jialing River that runs through Chongqing and feeds the Yangtze River.
Chongqing has a humid subtropical climate, with the two-season monsoonal variations typical of South Asia.
As one of the "Three Furnaces" ,Chongqing's summers are among the hottest in China. The temperature can be as high as 47 ¡ãC (117 ¡ãF), with an average high of 37 ¡ãC (99 ¡ãF) in August. Yet even in the hottest weather the wind is often cold, making such high temperatures more bearable. Winters are fairly mild, but damp and overcast; average January highs are 9 ¡ãC (48 ¡ãF). At only 1024 hours, Chongqing has one of the lowest sunshine totals annually in China.
Culture & Tourism
Chongqing has a number of tourist attractions.
As the provisional Capital of China for almost ten years (1937 to 1945), it was also known as one of the three headquarters of the Allies. Chongqing has many historical World War II buildings or sites(unfortunately some of them were destroyed):
- The People's Liberation Monument, located in the center of Chongqing city, attracts many visitors. It was the highest building in the area but currently is surrounded and dwarfed by numerous shopping centres. Actually this monument tower was originally named as "Monument for the victory over Axis armies" and it is the only building in whole China area for that purpose. Even today, the monument serves as the symbol for the city.
- Chongqing Museum
- Stilwell Museum for General "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell.
- Great Hall of the People (Chongqing) -based on the one in Beijing
- Renmin Hotel
- Luohan Si -Ming-era temple
- The cemetery for World War II air forces in Nanshan areain memory of those air force heroes who sacrificed their lives to help China during the Japanese invasion;
- The former sites for embassies of major countries during 1940s since Chungking was Capital at that time and many residence buildings/sites for the celebrities at that time (Chiang Kai-shek, H.H. Kong, Lao She, Liang Shiqiu et al.);
- Red Rock Village Museum is a diplomatic site for the Communist Party in Chongqing led by Zhou Enlai during World War II. It's where Mao Zedong signed the "Double 10 (October 10th) peace agreement" with the Kuomingtang.
Besides those historical places, Chongqing also has many other attractions:
- The Dazu Rock Carvings, in Dazu county, are a series of Chinese religious sculptures and carvings, dating back as far as the 7th century A.D., depicting and influenced by Buddhist, Confucian and Taoist beliefs. Listed as a UNESCO World cultural Heritage Site, the Dazu Rock Carvings are made up of 75 protected sites containing some 50,000 statues, with over 100,000 Chinese characters forming inscriptions and epigraphs.
- The natural bridges and Furong Cave in Wulong were listed as a World natural Heritage site (part of South China Karst).
- Ciqikou is an ancient 1000-year-old town in the Shapingba District of Chongqing. It is otherwise known as Small Chongqing. The town, located at the lower reaches of the Jialing River, was at one time an important source of chinawares and used to be a busy commercial dock during the Ming and Qing Dynasty.
- The steep road up to the front gate of Fishing Town
- Fishing Town or Fishing City also called the ¡°Oriental Mecca¡± and ¡°the Place That Broke God's Whip¡±, is one of the three great ancient battlefields of China. It is famous for its resistance to the Mongol armies in the latter half of the Song Dynasty. One of the most notable events was the death of Mongol leader Mongke Khan by cannon shot, which forced the immediate withdrawal of Mongol troops from Europe and Asia and prevented the Mongolian Empire from expanding towards Africa and Western Europe.
- Hot pot is Chongqing's local culinary specialty. Tables in hotpot restaurants usually have a central vat (or pot) where food ordered by the customers is boiled in a very spicy broth. As well as beef, pork, lotus and other vegetables, items such as pig's kidney, brain, duck's bowels, and cow's stomach are often consumed.
- The city is home to one of the largest public assembly buildings in China, the Great Hall of the People which, though built in modern times, emulates traditional architectural styles. It is adjacent to the densely populated and hilly central district, with narrow streets and pedestrian only walkways.
- A modern and well stocked zoo exhibits many national and regional animals, including the Giant Panda and the extremely rare South China Tiger.