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Precious Stone Fortress (Shibaozhai)

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  • Tour at Precious Stone Fortress
    Tour at Precious Stone Fortress
  • Precious Stone Fortress, Yangtze River
    Precious Stone Fortress, Yangtze River
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When cruising along the Yangtze River for about 45 km (28 miles) from Zhong County in Chongqing, you will see a large "bonsai" in the river, which is the Precious Stone Fortress (Shibaozhi). As one of the four precious cultural relics in Three Gorges area (the other three are Zhangfei Temple in Yunyang, White Crane Ridge in Fuling, and Dachang Ancient Town in Wushan), the Precious Stone Fortress is a hill with steep sides and a wooden tower leaning against it.

Legend has it that the Precious Stone Fortress was one of the rocks left by Nü Wa (a goddess in Chinese legend) when she was mending the sky, hence the named Precious Stone. In late Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644), an uprising troop took over the hill and made it a fortress. Thus it was named the Precious Stone Fortress. As the hill looks like a jade seal, it is also called the Jade Seal Hill (Yuyin Hill).

There was only one temple on top of the hill, and only pious believers went up to the top with the help of an iron chain. In the reign of Emperor Jiaqing of the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911) a nine-floor tower was built against a side of the hill, so that visitors can climb up to the top through stairs in the tower. Three more floors were added in 1956.

The Precious Stone Fortress Tower is the only column and tie wooden construction in China. Statues and memorial steles are found on each floor. Climbing to the top, you will see ancient Lanruo Temple, where a statue of Man Zi, a general of the ancient Ba Kingdom, is in the major hall, and many stone steles and inscriptions are exhibited in wing-rooms. In the rear part of the temple is a stone hole which is named the Rice-flowing Hole (Liumi Hole). It is said that when the temple was finished, there was rice flowing out from the hole so that monks in the temple could have food everyday. The monks wanted more rice and they chiseled the hole larger, however, nothing came out of hole from then on. At the foot of the hill, an ancient-style Shibao Street is worth visiting for dining and shopping.

When the Three Gorges Reservoir started to impound water, the Precious Stone Fortress would have been submerged by the rising water. Therefore, an 800-meter (874 yards) long and 50-meter (164 feet) high cement cofferdam (30 meters of it is under ground) has been built to protect it from the rising water level. Now the Precious Stone Fortress, looking from distance, is like a huge bonsai in the river. 

 Precious Stone Fortress Travel Tips: 
 Entrance Fee: CNY 80 per person
 Transportation: visitors can take a bus from Chongqing Chaotianmen Long-distance Bus Station or a fast ferry from Chongqing Chaotianmen Ferry Terminal to Zhong County (3 - 4 hours), and transfer to the shuttle bus to the Precious Stone Fortress (the bus leaves every 30 minutes).

 More Yangtze River Attractions
Chongqing → Fuling → Fengdu → Precious Stone Fortress (Shibaozhai) → Wanzhou → Yunyang 
Fengjie → Qutang Gorge → Wushan → Wu Gorge → Zigui → Xiling Gorge → Yichang  

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