The Yangtze, which is the China's greatest river with over 6,000 km, has always been an extremely important transportation route with major cities along its banks for several thousand years. Yangtze has also marked most of Chinese history.
As a key route for trade and transport, the river has made the region a centre of development and habitation throughout Chinese history.
Since the time when surrounding paddy fields have formed the backbone of central China's grain and rice production; until now, when a network of modern hydroelectric dams are the first stage towards building a great local industrial economy.
After raced out of Sichuan through the narrow Three Gorges, the Yangtze widens, slows down, and loops through its flatter, low-lying middle reaches, fed and swelled by smaller streams and rivers which drain off the moorland nearby the four provinces of the Yangtze basin – Hubei, Anhui , Jiangxi and Hunan.
Visitors like to navigate on Yangtze in lengthy cruises between Sichuan and Shanghai, and sightseeing along the two largest freshwater lakes: Dongting and Poyang. Towns near to the river, like Wuhu in Anhui, have interesting working ports where is possible to see traditional river industries - fish farming, grain, rice and bamboo transport - close to newer ventures in manufacturing.
Hubei is a privileged city located on the Yangzi itself unlike the other provincial capitals - Changsha in Hunan, Anhui's Hefei and Jiangxi's Nanchang -. However, these cities have much to offer with a scattering of worthwhile sites and museums to visit.
Yangtze River has a mythic importance for Chinese people too. In its borders is still visible the historic past of China, such as the well-preserved Han dynasty tombs, the Ming dynasty architecture scattered across Anhui and Jiangxi and a lot of ruins from the epic of the Three Kingdoms. Mao Zedong was born in Hunan Province; and the mountainous border between Hunan and Jiangxi was a Red refuge in the late 1920s and the starting point for the subsequent Long March to Shaanxi.
There are some interesting places away from the river, like the hiking through forested peaks around the regional fringes, especially in Huang Shan in southern Anhui.
Shennongjia Forest Reserve is located in Hubei, Zhangjiajie Forest Reserve is located in Hunan's west and mountain resort town of Lu Shan is located in Jiangxi.
Pilgrims also have a wide alternative of Buddhist and Taoist holy mountains to scale.
Tourists can travel by the Yangtze River until choice another transport option like rail lines, buses or minibuses.
Autumn is the most enjoyable time of year, though even winters are generally mild. The worst time is summer (June to August), with a lot of humidity and permanent rains which sometimes causes terrible floodings that destroy entire villages and millions of hectares of crops.