The Dujiangyan Irrigation System was built 2300 years ago by order of the provincial governor Li Bing. It is located about 60 km northwest of Chengdu.
Here, the Minjiang, an important tributary of the Jangtse was divided in the middle by a dam and a flat dyke, the so-called fish mouth.
The water of the inner Minjiang flows on the level of Chengdu and irrigates today 600.000 hectare of land in the complete Sichuan basin.
At inundation the water is conducted over a spillway into the outer Minjiang.
A 261 m long suspension bridge allow people to cross the raging flood of the Minjiang River safely at high water. Today’s Anlan Bridge, also known as Couple Bridge, was originally built from wood and rattan. Later, steel cables were used since the bridge swayed too much.
Today, the original Dujiangyan dam system can only be only seen as a replica; it was replaced by a concrete dam.
The complex includes the beautiful Erwang Temple, dedicated to the builder and his son.
Since 2000 the whole area is protected as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. In 2006, it was supplemented by the Zipingpu dam.
In 2008, a major earthquake occurred here. More than 85,000 people were killed and nearly 6 million people were left homeless.
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