渝 – Welcome to Chongqing

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.

Riverboat restaurants on the flooded Yangtze, looking out from the point at the center of the map below, which shows the Jialing (top river) meeting the Yangtze, flowing to the east.

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.

These buildings are representative of the type of buildings in the New North Zone. The picture was taken from the large Beilin Park, across the street from our office. More picture of the park to come!

View to the east from our apartment balcony.

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.

We have been told that Chongqing is famous for three things: Hot pot, steamy weather, and beautiful women. We’ll keep you updated as we learn more about our summer home.

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5 thoughts on “渝 – Welcome to Chongqing

  1. Sue Koch says:

    I like all the info you have provided….a bit of Chinese education for all who read it.
    Love to read about your exploits and surroundings. Keep it coming. Mom

  2. Jake Warr says:

    I’m curious – do you feel completely anonymous there (besides the whole tall white woman thing)? It looks enormous and somewhat impersonal, so have you seen many planning efforts on a smaller, more human scale?

    • Jennifer Koch says:

      I felt a little anonymous when I was down in old Chongqing, since there were so many more people (than in our neighborhood) and larger spaces. It was kind of comforting, actually, since we do not usually go unnoticed. I also definitely feel dwarfed by the size of Chongqing overall.

      We have seen some smaller, human-scale spaces, such as a couple of pedestrian-only shopping streets (one of which is very close to our apartment). Many of the sidewalks have a feeling of enclosure because of the street buffering and the trees, which is more comforting than walking on the very wide sidewalks, which are often shared with parked/parking cars.

  3. Kristin Koch says:

    Jenny,
    The city looks beautiful. The pictures remind me of the strange feelings I had when I visited there. As a blond American woman – definitely unusual – but still such a tiny cog in the giant wheel of actiivity in Beijing.

    Kristin

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