Xiling Gorge, Yangtze River, PRC - 1983

Selected for Google Maps and Google Earth

Comments (16)

bdeh on February 2, 2010

Did the Chinese build a dam in this river Ian? Very impressive. Greetings Berend

Ian Stehbens on February 2, 2010

The THREE GORGES DAM was completed last year. There is a great deal of information about it on the web. I thought these images on the BBC link that I have provided were particularly interesting. My historical images will contribute in a small way to the telling of its story.

In this photo you can see the receding levels of the flood in the sand deposits on the slope near centre of picture. My voyage was intentionally an upstream one, and it was on the receding flood, so our journey was relatively slow and gave us many extra opportunities for observation and photography.

Downstream from the Three Gorges Dam another huge dam was built during the 1980s. Gezhouba (Dam) is located at Yichang where the mighty river exits from Xiling Gorge. I was there during its construction. The latest and bigger project is located about 40kms upstream from Gezhouba in Xiling Gorge.


Ian Stehbens on February 2, 2010

This image was taken at 8am opposite Zigui, Hubei, looking upstream.

These very steep mountainsides are cultivated for sweet potato, citrus, chillis and maize.

The vessel on which I was voyaging was a sister vessel to the one ahead of us, distinguished from it by a different number. Both vessels had spent the night moored close to the rightbank (that is left of photo). This photo was taken as we commenced our next day's voyage. Badong, Hubei was our next port of call, 33kms further upstream.

This section of river is now affected by the Three Gorges Dam which backs water that is over 70m deeper here than in this photo!

Silvyp on February 2, 2010

What a beauty!

Ian Stehbens on February 2, 2010

This was really very nice - no, exciting to wake up to, one morning! I was impressed by the intensity of cultivation on the very steep slopes.

Warm regards, Silvy.


bdeh on February 3, 2010

Thanks for the information Ian. Greetings Berend

ƤōƝƓ on February 3, 2010

Thanks for the info, Ian. Ordinary tourists usually cannot achieve such stunning shots.

Ah-Pong of B@ngk☺k

Ian Stehbens on February 3, 2010

Thanks Ah-Pong, in some ways I was just an ordinary tourist, but in other ways it is true I was VIP. I was permitted to submit an itinerary proposal and my group was provided with very genial guides. The Chinese authorities accepted my itinerary and the only changes they made were improvements that were to our advantage. But neither they nor I were able to plan the weather, and again as you can see it was stunningly perfect for our voyage, complete with the tail end of a flood which slowed the voyage and gave even more opportunities for observation. I loved every minute - and as I think about it even now, I can feel the excitement and the passion.

There is more to come - hope you enjoy exploring China with me.


ƤōƝƓ on February 3, 2010

Hi Ian, thanks for your reply. Having read that you had to submit an itinerary to the authorities for approval, I've just realized that this was taken in the 1980s. Your experience reminds me of what my grandpa had told me. He had to enter the mainland through Hong Kong, the only entry point to China. And then go through lengthy immigration procedure, which took 3 days! He said the food was also awful and there was shortage of it.

Sometimes I am intrigued how much things have changed over time.

BTW, congratulations that your films are in great condition! A lot of mine have discoloured! :(

Ah-Pong of B@ngk☺k

Ian Stehbens on February 3, 2010

Dear Ah-Pong,

This is getting more and more interesting. I understand perfectly what your grandfather experienced, for although our immigration procedure was quick as our visas had previously been issued, I witnessed the angst of others, especially overseas Chinese. My first visit was in 1975-6, and significant change had already taken place by 1983. Of course far more change has followed.

Some of the amazing change can be seen long the length of Changjiang/Yangtze. Chongqing and Wanxian are both almost unrecognizable to me because of the high rise development and bridges that cross the rivers now. I watch the images of others on Panoramio and GE, and feel compelled to contribute my 1983 images. I may select some from 1976 as well.

I am pleased that the 35mm slides have been carefully stored over the years, and that I can now scan them to digital format for further years. Let me assure you they have been very well used. When I first returned from China I was in demand as a speaker on China at all sorts of places both in Australia and abroad. I remember counting 704 occasions at one point in my life (according to diary records) that I had publicly spoken on China. And always my images were screened. Thanks for your appreciation.


Andrei Matusov on February 23, 2010

Excellent landscape!

Best of panoramio!

Ian Stehbens on February 24, 2010

Thank you very much, Клевый. I was enthralled by the landscape I can assure you. From down on the river it all towers above majestically.

Warm regards,


Bedri Akçay on March 9, 2010

Very beautiful photo, great shot The best regards from / Bedri

Ian Stehbens on March 10, 2010

You are welcome in my gallery, Bedri. I will add your gallery into my list of favourites, so we can keep in touch. Thanks for the appreciation.

Ian (in Australia)

LukA\ on December 27, 2010

amazing views and a good shot. thanks fot this one!

Ian Stehbens on January 26, 2011

Your message has just arrived LukA, so I regret that this a belated response . Thank you very much for your appreciation of the Yangtze photo.


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Photo details

  • Uploaded on February 2, 2010
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    by Ian Stehbens