The Yangtze River is the symbolic lifeline of China. At almost 4,000 miles long, the Yangtze River is the longest river in Asia, the third longest river in the world and the birthplace of Chinese civilisation. The magnificent Three Gorges region is an area unsurpassed in sheer physical beauty, enriched by over 3,000 years of culture and history.
The Yangtze is the historical divider between northern and southern China, providing a natural barrier against invaders and waterway for transport and commerce. During the Three Kingdoms Period (260-280 AD), the gorges played an important role in the course of China's history. During World War II, the gorges provide protection against the onslaught of the Japanese invasion. And in recent years, the Three Gorges have drawn international attention for both their majestic scenic beauty and for the controversial construction of the Three Gorges Dam - the largest dam project ever attempted. Begun in 1992 and completed in 2009, China's coming of age as a world power is heralded by this colossal feat of engineering, a Great Wall for the future.