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Fragrance Stream

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The Fragrance Stream is one of the tributaries of the Yangtze River. Its source lies in the Shennongjia Primitive Forest and flows through the Xingshan County, Zigui, and Xiangxi Town, and merges into the Yangtze River at the northern bank of Xiling Gorge. Fragrance Stream stretches for 90 kilometers (55.9 miles) and covers an area of 3,100 square kilometers (1,196.9 square miles). At its source, the stream flows through woods with fragrant flowers blooming around. Therefore, the river is scented all the year round and was given the name Fragrance Stream.

Fragrance Stream used to have a high drop, with many steep slopes and shallow shoals. After the Three Gorges Project was finished, the water level rose and the narrow stream turned into a broad golden waterway which links the Three Gorges area with the Shennongjia Primitive Forest.

Cruising along the stream, you can not only enjoy the limpid water, primitive woods, and towering peaks, but also visitthe hometown of the famous Chinese poet Qu Yuan, the birthplace of Wang Zhaojun (one of the Four Beauties in ancient China), and historical sites of inscriptions and Yuxu Cave. 

 Fragrance Stream and Wang Zhaojun 
Wang Zhaojun was born in the Baoping Village within the upper reaches of the stream. She was chosen as one of the concubines of the Emperor of the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) at the age of 16. Five years after she entered the imperial palace, she was sent to marry the King of the Huns for political purpose. From then on Wang Zhaojun made great contributions to the relationship between the Han Dynasty and the Huns. 

It is said that before Wang Zhaojun married the King of the Huns, she went back to her hometown. She often washed her handkerchief in a narrow stream near her village, so the water was turned to the fragrant water, hence the name Fragrance Stream.

There lived a kind of rare fish in the Fragrance Stream, the Peach Jellyfish (Peach Fish, or Parachute Fish). The jellyfish are usually found in spring, when peach flower blooms, and their bodies are like peach flowers, so they were called peach jellyfish. A story about peach jellyfish and Wang Zhaojun is that when she went back to her hometown before she married the king of the Huns, it was the time when peach flower bloomed. Thinking of she would never be back to her hometown after she was married, she couldn’t help crying. Her tears and the petals of peach blossoms fell into the stream together and turned to the peach jellyfish.

Today, you can still find historical sites about Wang Zhaojun in Baoping Village, such as the Residence Houses of Zhaojun, Wangyue Tower, and the Dressing Platform. Many buildings are also built to commemorate Wang Zhaojun and her contribution to the relationship and communication between the Han people and the Huns, including the Exhibition Hall of Zhaojun, Zhaojun Pavilion, and Corridor for Visiting Hometown.

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