Asia is home to some of the world’s longest rivers. A number of long waterways flow through the continent and provide its inhabitants with water for drinking, irrigation and the generation of hydroelectric power. In addition, many rivers serve as important transportation routes while others offer their rich resources of aquatic life and minerals. Several ancient civilizations thrived at the banks of important Asian Rivers. The most important and longest river in Asia is the Yangtze river. The following discussion provides information about this mighty water body of Asia.
The longest river of Asia and third longest river on the planet, the Yangtze measures 6,300 kilometers in length. It is the most important waterway of China, serving the country since its ancient history. It emerges from the Geladaindong Peak of the Tanggula Mountains in Qinghai. The source of the river is located at an elevation of 5,042 meters. From there begins the river’s long, adventurous journey which comes to an end near Shanghai and Jiangsu where its water joins the East China Sea.
Around one-fifth of the region of the People’s Republic of China comes under the river. Its huge river basin covers 1,808,500 square kilometers of area and houses one-third of the entire population of the country. The Yangtze delta is one of the most prosperous regions of China, contributing over twenty percent to the country’s overall GDP. The river provides water for irrigation to help the agricultural sector thrive while the world’s largest hydroelectric power station generates enormous amount of electricity. It also serves as a route for transport of vessels.
Indeed, the mighty Yangtze is a matter of pride for China. The magnificent water body offers scenic beauty to foreign tourists while the locals harness its power and use its resources to build a thriving nation.
The Yangtze River is known by many other names. In fact, these names have been used by Chinese to identify different sections of the river when its source had not been determined. The most popular names of the river are listed below along with a brief description of the section defined by each name.
The river’s most common name in the country is Chang Jiang which means “Long River”. This name defines the region of the river which extends from its confluence with one of its tributaries, River Min, towards its mouth located at Shanghai. This is the lower course of Yangtze which is 2,884 kilometers long.
Chang Jiang is further classified into sub-sections which have been given different names by the locals. These include Chuan Jiang, Jing Jiang, Wan Jiang and Yangzi Jiang.
In the Chinese language, Jinsha Jiang means “gold sanded river”. This name defines the section of the river from Yibin to where it is joined by its tributary, River Batang. This confluence occurs in Qinghai. The section of the river defined by Jinsha Jiang is 2,308 kilometers long.
The headstream of Yangtze, flowing up to 358 kilometers from its source is known as the Tuotuo River. The name means “tearful river”. In the Mongolian language, this section is named as “Ulan Moron” which means the Red River.
This name has been taken from fable: Journey to the West. It means “river passing through heaven”. Tongtian defines the section which flows from Yushu up to the river’s meeting point with River Dangqu. It was also known as the Yak River or the Winding Stream.
The Chinese take pride in the fact that the longest river of Asia runs through their country. In fact, the Yangtze has earned several places on the list of world records. The reasons why it is famous the world over are listed below.
The Yangtze River is surrounded by breathtaking scenic beauty. The sites worth watching are described below.
The river’s source lies at the Qinghai-Tibet plateau. This point is popularly known as the Roof of the World. It leads to lush green Mountains and steep gorges in the regions of Lisu and Naxi.
Also known popularly as the Home of the Devil, it is a famous place which is situated along the course of the river. Most tourists make a stop at this point during their Yangtze cruise. It used to be an ancient town and a burial site. Although most of the city has drowned under the Three Gorges Dam, its relics are still found in the form of multiple ancient temples.
There are several towns located along the river’s lower reaches which are popularly known as the ancient water towns owing to the large number of small rivers and lakes located there. The famous water towns are: Zhouzhuang, Xitang, Tongli and Wuzhen.
The Yangtze is famous for the Three Gorges which are found around the middle reaches of the river. This region offers natural scenic beauty which tourists can enjoy during their cruise of this part of the river.
The river has been serving China in many ways since the ancient times. The region containing the Three Gorges was home to human civilization as far back as 27,000 years. The culture of Southern China emerged from the early settlements which thrived around the banks of Yangtze. Today, the river is immensely important for the country in the following ways.
Indeed, the Yangtze River is not only the longest river of Asia, but also one of the most important waterways of the continent.
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