Chongqing is located within Sichuan province but since 1997 it has been a separately governed independent municipality. Squeezed along the confluence of the Jialing and Yangtzi rivers, in the shadow of mountains, the hilly streets of the 'Mountain City' are home to some 5.7 million people. Approximately 30 million people live in the counties and districts surrounding the old city.
A city was first established here at the time of the Ba kingdom over 3,000 years ago. As an inland port Chongqing was opened to foreign trade in 1890 and played a key role in the economy of the southwest region.
Following the fall of Nanjing during World War II, the KMT made Chongqing their provisional capital in 1938. The Japanese bombed the city heavily and only the long foggy winters saved the city from worse damage. Chongqing or 'Chungking' was known to most of the world as heavily bombarded yet brave city - a symbol of Free China. After the US entered the war, Chongqing also became the center of the Far East war zone of the Allied Forces.
Many places of interest in Chongqing are related to its wartime struggles and the revolution such as the Red Cliff Village where the Chinese Communist Party representatives lived while they tried to work in allegiance with the KMT against the Japanese.
Nowadays Chongqing is an important industrial city and a popular tourist destination. The Three Gorges are just 20 hours sailing away, so Chongqing is the start or end point for most Yangzi river cruises. The city's streets are full of life and character and there are plenty of opportunities to taste spicy Sichuan food and Chongqing's specialty hotpot.
Along with Wuhan and Nanjing, Chongqing is known as one of the "3 furnaces of China" as temperatures rise towards 100°
C) in July and August. Winters are long damp and foggy, so the best time to visit is during spring and fall.