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Nanjin Pass

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Nanjin Pass, located at the east of Xiling Gorge, is the eastern exit of Three Gorges. When cruising downstream the Yangtze and exiting from Nanjin Pass, you leave the high mountains and deep valleys behind and head to the 2,000-meter (2,187 yards) wide mid-lower reaches of Yangtze River.

Nanjin Pass has long been a hot destination along the Yangtze River. Once a narrow pass of the Yangtze River,  it was improved when the Gezhouba Project became operational. Standing at the pass, you can view the distant Gezhouba Dam. There is the Nanjin Pass Valley, which has been rated as one of the top ten routes of outdoor adventure by Chinese netizens. In addition, many historical sites are found near Nanjin Pass, including Sanyou Cavern, Luyou Spring, and Drum-Beat Platform of Zhang Fei. 

 Nanjin Pass Valley
Nanjin Pass Valley is situated at Underwater Prison Stream (Xialao Stream) on the northern bank of Xiling Gorge. It is 18 km long and 3 - 50 meters (3.3 - 54.7 yards) wide, covering an area of 108 square kilometers (41.7 square miles). The mountains along the valley are 100 to 250 meters (328 to 820 feet) high. About 4,100 years ago, Gun, the father of Yu the Great, locked an evil dragon under the water of Nanjin Pass Valley when he dredged the river, so the stream is named Underwater Prison Stream. To commemorate Gun's great deed, people also named the valley White Horse Valley (white horse, Bai Ma in Chinese, is the alias of Gun).

The valley is so highly recognized by the Chinese netizens because of the natural and primitive scenery. There are three distinct smaller valleys: the steep Red Rock Valley (Hong Yan Xia), the deep and tranquil Flying Valley (Fei Tian Xia), and the graceful Wintersweet Valley (La Mei Xia). Furthermore, six waterfalls, eighteen pools, seventy-two natural springs, and lots of rare flora and fauna are waiting for you to explore.

 Sanyou Cavern
Sanyou Cavern Inscription, Sanyou Cavern for short, is found on a mountain of Xiling Gorge, about 7 km (4.3 miles) from Yichang City. Facing the Underwater Prison Stream, Sanyou Cavern is famous for extraordinary views and ancient inscriptions in the cave.

It is said in the year of 819, during the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907), the famous poets Bai Juyi, Bai Xingjian, and Yuan Zhen visited the cavern and wrote poems and articles about the cavern and put on walls in the cavern, so it was named Sanyou Cavern (three celebrities visiting the cavern) and people called it "the first three celebrities' visit". Later in the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279), famous writers Su Xun, Su Shi and Su Zhe also took a visit to the cavern and wrote poems on the walls. It was called "the second three celebrities' visit".

About 30 meters (32.8 yards) deep, 23 meters (25.1 yards) wide, and 9 meters (29.5 feet) high, Sanyou Cavern was formed due to eroding of underground water around 500 to 600 million years ago. Three stalactites divided the cavern into a front part and a rear part. The walls of the front part are full of ancient inscriptions. The rear part is deep and tranquil, but if you throw a little rock to the roof, you will hear it rings like a bell; when the rock falls on the ground, the sound turns to drumbeat.

 Luyou Spring
Walking along the steps outside Sanyou Cavern down the waist mountain, you will find a fresh spring, which is the Luyou Spring. In 1169, Lu You, the famous poet of the Song Dynasty came to visit the Sanyou Cavern. Lu You made tea with the water in the spring and also wrote a poem on the cliff, so people named it Luyou Spring.

 Drum-Beat Platform of Zhang Fei (Zhang Fei Lei Gu Tai)
On the top of the mountain where Sanyou Cavern locates, there is a platform on a column-shape peak, which is known as the Drum-Beat Platform of Zhang Fei. It is recorded that during the Three Kingdoms Period (220 - 280), the famous general of Shu Kingdom Zhang Fei was once a chief of Yidu Prefecture (today's Yichang City). He used to stand on the platform and beat drum to train his soldiers, hence the name. Now a statue of Zhang Fei is standing on the platform. It faces the running Yangtze River, with his eyes wide open, as if he is still beating the drum and training the soldiers.

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