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The China Three Gorges Museum was opened in 2005. It is a newly built museum with a construction area of about 40,000 square meters. It is near People’s Square and the Great Hall of the People. It is also called the Chongqing Museum. There are displays of Chinese art and of artifacts saved from the construction of the 3 Gorges Dam and the artificial lake. It instructs on the 3 Gorges region, the 3 Gorges Dam, the history of Chongqing and the surrounding area, Chinese history, and prehistoric times.
The museum has four big themes: “The Splendid Three Gorges,” “The Very Ancient Ba Yu,” “The Urban Development of Chongqing,” and “The Anti-Japanese Days.” There are displays of antique art. There is a large model of the entire dam project, and information is presented about this impressive engineering achievement. There are also films shown about the bombing of Chongqing during WWII by Japanese planes and about the natural scenery in the Three Gorges area before the construction of the dam.
There are other six specialized exhibitions of paintings, calligraphy, money, cultural relics, and ceramics. The special exhibitions are called “Paintings and Calligraphy in Different Historical Periods,” “The Money in Different Periods,” “Sculpture in the Han Dynasty,” “Cultural Relics Donated by Li Chuli,” “Minority Customs in Southwest China,” and “Ceramics in Different Periods of China.”
One of the reasons the building was built was to house the relics from the sites destroyed by the construction of the 3 Gorges Dam. So you’ll find displays of saved artifacts from sites all over the huge submerged area. The shape of the building itself is like that of a large dam. There is a blue sun screen in front that may represent the water of the Yangtze River or the lake itself held by the dam.
There are also dinosaur skeletons on display that are from nearby Zigong in Sichuan Province and places around there. The Dashanpu dinosaur fossil site in Zigong held numerous fossil skeletons.
Location: 236 Renmin Road, Yuzhong District. It is on the west side of People’s Square across from the Great Hall of the People.
The museum was completed in 2005. It was meant to be a place to deposit artifacts saved from important historical sites submerged by the artificial lake behind the 3 Gorges Dam. Hundreds of archeological sites were submerged, and many objects were discovered and moved to the museum by various teams of scientists and archeologists.
Hours: 9 to 5 every day except Monday.
Nearby in the southern part of the city is the Chongqing Zoo where you can see rare species of Asian animals like pandas and South China Tigers and common animals from other places like African giraffes. There are more than 200 species of animals there.
If you are interested in dinosaur fossils, the Zigong Dinosaur Museum about three hours away in Zigong in Sichuan Province may be an excellent place to visit. The exhibits of skulls and dinosaur skeletons are world-class.
Near the museum is the Great Hall of the People. It is 55 meters tall. In front of the building is Chongqing People’s Square that is used for entertainment and official functions. The main building and the plaza are often very brightly and colorfully lit in a light show. So if you stay in the area in the evening, you might be able to enjoy the free light show. It is a real spectacle.