As Derek and I begin to learn about the place we will call home for the next two months, we thought it would be nice to give everyone a quick overview of Chongqing, the fastest growing Chinese city, unknown to many internationally. The Chinese symbol in this post’s title is the official symbol of Chongqing (which is pronounced as in English, except that the “q” sounds like the English “ch”), whose name means “double celebration.” The name was given by the Southern Song Emperor Guangzong in 1189, to commemorate his accession in rank.
Chongqing sits to the east of the Sichuan Province (world-renowned for its spicy food), from which it was politically separated in 1997. It is a province-level municipality controlled directly by China’s central government, which is also the case for a few other large municipalities in China (Beijing, Shanghai, and Tianjin).
The hilly Chongqing city is located at the confluence of the Yangtze and Jialing rivers. The Yangtze River has been in the news in recent years because of the installation of the Three Gorges Dam about 630 km downstream from Chongqing. The area has a subtropical climate, and the daytime temperature has generally hovered in the humid upper 90s (I suppose I should say 30s, since we’re in Celsius now) since we arrived, though we did have a nice dip in the temperature yesterday evening.
There are 19 districts in Chongqing. Our apartment and office are located in the Chongqing New North Zone, near the Jiangbei, Yuzhong, and Yubei districts (or possibly inside one of them – it is as yet unclear to me if the New North Zone is a new district or a overlay zone of sorts). The New North Zone is about 9 km north of the confluence of the rivers, shown in the map above.
In the map below, our apartment complex, Shangyuan Impression, is marked by the lower pin and the CAUPD Western Branch Office is the upper pin. This area, the New North Zone, is an economic and technical development zone. Around our office, there are many new, large buildings, and the area between our apartment and office seems to be an example of Chinese boom era construction with many residential towers and gardens.
The map below is a Google Earth map of Chongqing for you to explore. The map opens on the southern, older part of Chongqing city, where the Yangtze meets the Jialing.