Visitor Attractions in Chongqing
Interesting districts, temples and museums
Jiefangbei CBD is the vibrant business district of Chongqing, which is growing nestled into the heights between the Jialing and Yangtze Rivers. In the heart of this fast-developing commercial center, with many shops, offices, hotels and restaurants, is a pedestrian zone that opened in 1997 around the People's Liberation Monument. The monument, which was built in 1945 and was originally intended to commemorate victory over the Japanese, now symbolizes the Communist takeover of 1950.
Ciqikou was a well-known market and a trading center during the Ming Dynasty (15th century), with its own harbor west of Chongqing. Today Ciqikou is located in the midst of the Shapingba district of Chongqing, near the high-rise buildings. Ciqikou will remain intact, though, because the government has decided to preserve the old charm of the district, the better to attract tourists. Several buildings have been restored, and many small souvenir shops have now emerged, together with numerous food stalls and restaurants that serve the local specialties.
The Huguang Guild Hall - a magnificent complex of houses, prayer houses and shops - was built by immigrants from the southern provinces of Hubei, Guangdong, Guangxi and Hunan during the Qing Dynasty. The Huguang Guild Hall was the center of life for these people for more than 200 years.
The Buddhist Luohan Temple was built 1000 years ago during the Song Dynasty, remodeled in 1752, and rebuilt in 1945 after the Second World War. The name of this popular place for worship and penance, “Luohan”, is the Chinese equivalent of the Sanskrit word “arhat”, meaning a holy man who has left behind all earthly desires and concerns and attained nirvana. The facility serves simultaneously as a cloister for a small community of monks, and as the headquarters of the Buddhist Society of Chongqing.
The cableway across the Yangtze River was put into operation in 1987 to increase the efficiency of transport between the Yuzhong and Nan'an districts in Chongqing without building expensive new bridges. With a span of 1,166 meters (3800 feet), it is much longer than its sister cableway across the Jialing River (1982-2011), but this latter is already no longer in operation. Huge bridges will soon carry the CRT Line 6 over the Jialing River leading to Jiefangbai and finally over the Yangtze River, so there is concern that the Yangtze Cableway will be abandoned.
Hongyadong offers numerous shopping arcades and restaurants on multiple levels, so you can spend hours strolling through shops and discover exquisite dining. As a modern landmark of Chongqing, the building is impressive with its rather garish appearance. Nevertheless, you should not miss the incredible selection of souvenir shops, food stalls and really high-class restaurants. Visiting a Hongyadong restaurant is a special treat, especially at night when the bright lights come on and offer a beautiful view of the Jialing River.
The Three Gorges Museum opened in 2005, and exhibits artifacts that were rescued from land to be covered by the waters of the reservoir created behind the Three Gorges Dam. The focus of the museum is on the culture and geography of the Three Gorges region and construction of the dam, but displays also cover the history and environment of Chongqing, from prehistoric times up to the Sino-Japanese War of 1937-1945.
The Chongqing Great Hall of the People was built between 1951-1954, and with its huge dome that is modeled after the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, it is the best known landmark in Chongqing. Musical and theatrical performances take place under a dome 180 feet in height in an auditorium that seats 4000. At night, both the Great Hall of the People and the People's Square in front of it are spectacularly illuminated.
Even a brief visit to the Zoo in Chongqing is worthwhile because you can observe many pandas at close quarters, while in Sichuan they are nearly extinct in the wild. An early start is necessary if you wish to see the Panda feeding at 9 am. However, this is also when most of the rest of the tourists will be present.
Eling Park is located on a hill in the middle of central Yuzhon District, and so it offers a beautiful view of large parts of the city of Chongqing. The park was established at the end of the Qing dynasty in 1909. It was built by a wealthy businessman, and was renovated in 1958. Hundreds of plant species can be discovered in different parts of the well-tended gardens, and there is a tea house and a restaurant that cater to visitors. Tourists also enjoy the lookout tower, which opened a few years ago and provides a suitable platform for photographing the Chongqing skyline.
The Stilwell Museum recalls the cooperation between U.S. and China against the Japanese in World War II. The exhibition is housed in the former headquarters of the American officer, General Joseph W. Stilwell, who coordinated the entire theater of war in China, Burma, and India (CBI) from Chongqing.
Chaotianmen lies at the confluence of the Jialing and Yangtze Rivers, at the tip of Yuzhong peninsula. From here, the Yangtze River can be explored by boat, or you can enjoy the view of the panorama with the Chaotianmen Bridge. Below the plaza is also an exhibit with numerous models for urban development in Chongqing (The Urban Planning Exhibition).