The Three Gorges Dam is the largest hydroelectric dam in the world. It is located in the middle of the tree gorges on the Yangtze River, the third longest in the world, in the Hubei Province of China. The Yangtze River Dam was approved by the Chinese government in 1992. However, construction didn’t begin until 1994. It is scheduled to be completed by 2009. The $25 billion project is being internationally funded by companies, export credit agencies, and banks from Canada, Switzerland, Germany, France, Sweden, and Brazil. Controversy about the project arises from human rights issues (as many as 1.3-1.9 million people have been forced to relocate) and environmental impacts.
The dam is by far the worlds largest in both size and hydroelectric power generation. Its an astonishing engineer feat.
You see the Three Gorges Dam up close - and pass through its incredibly large locks in your ship. The Three Gorges Dam is a Hillman Wonder Bronze Medal winner.
Unfortunately, from the tourists perspective, it is raising the river water level behind it so high that formerly breathtaking rapid currents of the Yangtze River are all but disappearing. And, the water is permanently inundating some scenic and cultural riverside attractions (and forced over a million people to relocate).
However, much of the stunning natural beauty of the sheer gorges remain. And, the visit to the new dam and its locks have substantially added to the cruises appeal.
On balance, the Yangtze River cruise is still so exceptional that the sightseeing losses the dam caused should definitely not discourage travelers from making the voyage. Think of the marble statue Venus de Milo. She lost her arms but still is an object of beauty.