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The Yellow River or Huang He is the "mother river of China". Its basin was the center of Chinese politics, economy and culture for over 2,000 years. It is the second-longest river in China (after the Yangtze), and sixth longest in the world.
Learn more on Yellow River Facts.
The name "Yellow River" comes from the huge amounts of "yellow" loess sediment it carries when flowing through the Loess Plateau. It is the world's major river with the most excessive siltation.
The Yellow River is 5,464 kilometers (3,398 miles) long, stretching west–east 1900 km (1,180 miles), and meandering north–south 1,100 km (684 miles).
Learn more about Yellow River Geography.
Almost all Chinese agree that the Yellow River Basin was the cradle of Chinese Civilization. A great amount of archeological information proves that the Yellow River was the most prosperous region in early Chinese history (2100–1046 BC).
The Yellow River is not just a river of China, but also the symbol of the Chinese spirit: bearing burdens (its sedimentation), adaptation (its course changes), and perseverance (its continual flow).
For thousands of years, the Yellow River has been admired by great poets, artists, and common people. Many poems and songs sing the spirit of Yellow River and Chinese people, including Defend the Yellow River (保卫黄河), and Ode to The Yellow River (黄河颂).
Learn more on Yellow River Civilization.
Along the Yellow River, there are numerous historic and ancient attractions, and stunning scenery.
Top attractions of the Yellow River include forest parks, deserts, grasslands, the Loess Plateau, ancient capitals, and a "chocolate" waterfall. Hukou Waterfall is the classic Yellow River attraction. Read more on Yellow River Attractions.
The Yellow River is the most important water resource for the dry north of China, playing an irreplaceable role in economic development, and agriculture. Since 1960 over 14 dams have been constructed on the river for hydroelectric power, which is vital to northern China's infrastructure.
The Yellow River is also called "China's Sorrow". Each year, over 1.6 billion tons of soil flows into the Yellow River, which causes the continual rise and shift of the riverbed. Before damming, it was extremely prone to flooding, and had caused millions of deaths, including the deadliest disaster in human history.
Between 608 BC and 1938 AD, the Yellow River changed course 26 times, and flooded over 1,500 times.
With global warming, decrease in rainfall in the Yellow River Basin, and increasing water demands for irrigation, industry, etc., the Yellow River has been used up by its lower reaches since 1972, when it ran dry for the first time in recorded history. The longest dry period lasted 226 days in 1997.
Drought in the Yellow River region has brought serious challenges to agricultural development and the cities near the Yellow River.
What's worse, the river has been abused. It has become so polluted in some reaches that it is unfit for agricultural and industrial use, because of the huge increase in factory and sewage discharges from China's fast-expanding cities.
The government is taking measures to deal with Yellow River pollution, such as setting limits on the volume of major pollutants discharged into rivers and lakes, and controlling overuse of water resources.
Along the Yellow River, there are many worthwhile attractions and many tourist cities, such as Lanzhou, Zhongwei, Yinchuan, Baotou, Yan'an, Luoyang, Zhengzhou, and Kaifeng.
If you want to visit any cities or any attractions near the Yellow River, China Highlights can assist you. Contact us and we can tailor-make a tour with the Yellow River and any other places you are interested in.