Formerly known as Yiling, Yichang is an ancient city with a history of 1,000 years. It is the dividing line between the upper and mid-lower reaches of the Yangtze River. There are more than 340 scenic spots with 42 priority places. Yichang is an important place in tourism in China. From here visitors can set out to see beautiful natural scenery of Yangtze in the Three Gorges and the man made Three Gorges Project. Added to this are well-preserved ancient battlegrounds of the Three Kingdoms Period, Sanyou Cave and local customs and folkways of the Ba ethnic people.
This beautiful cave is in the cliffs of the northern Peak of Xiling Mountain, 6.2 miles northwest of Yichang. It was visited by three poets, Bai Juyi, Bai Xingjian, and Yuan Zhen during the Tang Dynasty and Bai Juyi wrote a preface in memory of the occasion. The cave has also been visited by Su Xun, Su Shi, and Su Zhe and is thus a well-known spot. It overlooks a deep valley and the cliffs are hundreds of feet high. It is warm in winter and cool in summer and dotted with stalactites. Poems and essays by many writers abound in the cave.
On the northern bank of the Yangtze River south of Yichang is Natural Pagoda, built by Guo Pu of the Jin Dynasty. It underwent repair in the reign of Emperor Qian Long of the Qing Dynasty. Some 137 feet high, it is a seven-storied octagonal structure of bricks and tiles. The pedestal is also octagonal. There are eight vivid statues of Dvarapalas, or guardian deities. Visitors may ascend the tower to take an overall view of Yichang city.
Golden Lion Cave
Situated at the mouth of the Xiling Gorge, the limestone cave is 10.5 miles from Xiaoxita, Yichang County. It is 6,080 feet deep and there are three layers. The cave is one million years old and the limestone has taken on grotesque forms. A piece shaped like a lion attracts particular attention and is very lifelike. The cave is known as the number one cave of the world.
White Horse Cave
White Horse Cave is several hundred feet east of Sanyou Cave and visitors are taken there by boat across a body of water, at the front of the cave. In it there are grotesque stalactites and one in particular is shaped like a horse, but is bigger than two ordinary horses, and very lifelike.
Situated at a place where all tributaries flow into the Yangtze River, Gezhouba is the biggest lock in the Yangtze. The dam is 1.5 miles long and 230 feet high and is a magnificent project. Began in 1970, it was completed in 1988. There are power generating units, a ship lock, a flood sluice and a lock to clear sand. Visitors can see for themselves how the water levels rise and fall and may visit the lock by boat.
China Sturgeon Aquarium
The aquarium is in Shuixita town, Yichang. The China sturgeon is under first category protection by the state. It is a contemporary of the dinosaur with a history of 140 million years, a living fossil. The sturgeon measures up to 13 feet long, weighs over 1,102 pounds, and is known as the king of fish in the Yangtze River. The aquarium now rears the fish by artificial means.