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Shibaozhai Cruises

People are amazed by the dramatic first sight of "The Pearl of the Yangtze," this 12 story pagoda as it overlooks a 720-foot-high gorge.

Going downstream on the Yangtze River, travelers first encounter Shibaozhai... a gem of Chinese architecture. From a distance the protruding 220-meter hill resembles a jade seal.

Located on the south bank of the Yangtze River, it was first built during the Qing Dynasty in 1650. As one of the most spectacular sites along the river, this 12-story 56m wooden red pavilion hugs a sheer rectangular cliff. It consists of three parts: the entrance gate, a nine-story wooden pavilion and a small temple at the top.

On its yellow-glazed entrance gate is an inscription inviting the visitor to climb a ladder and ascend into a 'Little Fairyland' (the top temple). The top temple was built during the reign of Emperor Qianlong. Originally, the top temple was inaccessible because of its elevation but later an iron chain was attached to the cliff so visitors could access it. In 1819, the nine-story red wooden pavilion was added so that monks and visitors to the temple would not have to suffer the discomforts of the ascent by using chains. Designers also built interior spiral staircase to make climbing more convenient.