Chongqing's undulating topography means that it is one of the few cities in China where the bicycle is not king. Instead, commuters whiz about on a futuristic monorail and a superb public bus and metro system that has a multilingual announcement system. Money pouring in from construction and tourism related to the Three Gorges Dam keeps the city booming.
Chongqing was the heart of the communist movement's early years and the city served as the capital of China during the years of WWII. Apart from its speedy sense of futurism, Chongqing is a richly historic place with fascinating heritage attractions tucked into almost every hill and valley.
Very much the ‘Times Square' of Chongqing, Jiefangbei is a massive paved plaza ringed by 3,000 shops and businesses and what seems to be an uncountable stock of skyscrapers. Everything from the stock market to the biggest shopping malls and department stores in the city are located here.
While a great deal of Chongqing was destroyed by the Japanese during WWII, some of the heritage has been recreated in HongYaDong where old style houses on stilts and wooden aqueducts appear to hang precariously off the side of a very steep mountain. HongYaDong is just near Jiefangbei.
Part amusement park, part white elephant, Foreign Street is north of Jiefangbei and contains novelties like an Australian bar, an upside-down house, other various international models and the world's largest public restrooms.
No city in China would be complete without a Great Hall of the People and no Great Hall of the People comes without a vast public square used for all kinds of gatherings and events. The People's Square in Chongqing boasts a particularly beautiful Great Hall and the square itself is quite new, having been opened in 1997, and is replete with a water fountain that moves in time to music.
Tourists flock to Red Rock Village, otherwise known as Hong Yan Cun, to see where Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai-shek completed their historic negotiations. An excellent museum sits at the entrance to the park and explains all that went on here.
Near the center of the city, this district, known as Ci Qi Kou Zheng Jie or ‘the Porcelain Village', is where old Chongqing can be seen in its crumbling originality. Only a couple of streets remain of this truly magical part of town.
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