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China -> Chongqing
Chongqing Municipality

Chongqing, considered by some to be the largest city in the world also has a long history, dating back some two million years. Originally named Gongzhou, the Song Emperor Zhaodun renamed the city Chongqing in 1190 when he assumed the throne. The name means "double jubliation" or "repeated good luck," and was chosen by the emperor because he had also been named prince of the city.

Due to its isolated location, Chongqing was left relatively untouched by foreign influence until the Kuomintang retreated and set up its wartime capital here. Refugees came to the city, flooding its population to over two million. The city served as the meeting place for secret rendezvous between the Kuomintang and Communist leaders in efforts to join forces against the Japanese.

Today Chongqing, one of the "three furnaces" of China due to its sweltering summers, will find itself on lakefront property with the completion of the Three Gorges Dam. The artificial lake will provide the city with cheap electricity to aid its position as the chief industrial city of southwestern China. You will also notice a quietness on the streets - this is due to the city's ban on car horns in 1997. People here also use motorbikes instead of the ubiquitous bicycle due to Chongqing's steep hills.

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