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In order to book an accommodation on Yellow River enter the proper dates and do the hotel search. If needed, sort the found Yellow River hotels by price, star rating, property type, guest rating, hotel features, hotel theme or hotel chain. Then take a look at the found hotels on Yellow River map to estimate the distance from the main Yellow River attractions and sights. You can also read the guest reviews of Yellow River hotels and see their ratings.

When a hotel search on Yellow River is done, please select the room type, the included meals and the suitable booking conditions (for example, "Deluxe double room, Breakfast included, Non-Refundable"). Press the "View Deal" ("Book Now") button. Make your booking on a hotel booking website and get the hotel reservation voucher by email. That's it, a perfect hotel on Yellow River is waiting for you!

Hotels of Yellow River

A hotel on Yellow River is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger on Yellow River hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms on Yellow River are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some Yellow River hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most Yellow River hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels on Yellow River have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:

Upscale luxury hotels on Yellow River
An upscale full service hotel facility on Yellow River that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury Yellow River hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.

Full service hotels on Yellow River
Full service Yellow River hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.

Historic inns and boutique hotels on Yellow River
Boutique hotels of Yellow River are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Yellow River boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels on Yellow River may be classified as luxury hotels.

Focused or select service hotels on Yellow River
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of Yellow River travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most Yellow River focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.

Economy and limited service hotels on Yellow River
Small to medium-sized Yellow River hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded Yellow River traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service Yellow River hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.

Guest houses and B&Bs on Yellow River
A bed and breakfast on Yellow River is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, Yellow River bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical Yellow River B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.

Hostels on Yellow River
Yellow River hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many Yellow River hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.

Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels on Yellow River
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized Yellow River hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels on Yellow River lack an on-site restaurant.

Timeshare and destination clubs on Yellow River
Yellow River timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts on Yellow River often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of Yellow River on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.

Motels on Yellow River
A Yellow River motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of Yellow River for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of Yellow River motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.

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Travelling and vacation on Yellow River

Yellow River
黄河 (Huáng Hé)
Hukou Waterfall.jpg
The Yellow River at the Hukou Falls.
Country China
States Qinghai, Sichuan, Gansu, Ningxia, Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Henan, Shandong
- left Fen River (and many smaller rivers)
- right Tao River, Wei River (and many smaller rivers)
Source Bayan Har Mountains
- location Yushu Prefecture, Qinghai
- elevation 4,800 m (15,748 ft)
- coordinates  / 34.49194; 96.34028
Mouth Bohai Sea
- location Kenli County, Shandong
- elevation 0 m (0 ft)
- coordinates  / 37.78000; 119.25000  / 37.78000; 119.25000
Length 5,464 km (3,395 mi)
Basin 752,546 km (290,560 sq mi)
- average 2,571 m/s (90,794 cu ft/s)
- max 49,000 m/s (1,730,419 cu ft/s)
- min 1,030 m/s (36,374 cu ft/s)
Map of the Yellow River in China
Yellow River
Yellow River (Chinese characters).svg
"Yellow River" in Simplified (top) and Traditional (bottom) Chinese characters
Chinese name
Simplified Chinese 黄河
Traditional Chinese 黃河
Postal Hwang Ho
Standard Mandarin
Hanyu Pinyin Huáng Hé
Wade–Giles Huang Ho
IPA [xwǎŋ xɤ̌]
Romanization Wån Ghu
Yue: Cantonese
Yale Romanization Wòhng hòh
IPA [wɔ̏ːŋ hɔ̏ː]
Jyutping Wong ho
Southern Min
Tâi-lô N̂g hô
Middle Chinese
Middle Chinese Hwang Ha
Old Chinese
Baxter–Sagart (2014) *N-kʷˤaŋ [C.q]ˤaj
Tibetan name
Tibetan རྨ་ཆུ།
Wylie r Ma chu
THL ma chu
Mongolian name
Mongolian Хатан гол
Ȟatan Gol
Шар мөрөн
Šar Mörön

The Yellow River or Huang He (About this sound listen) is the third longest river in Asia, after the Yangtze River and Yenisei River, and the sixth-longest river system in the world at the estimated length of 5,464 km (3,395 mi). Originating in the Bayan Har Mountains in Qinghai province of western China, it flows through nine provinces, and it empties into the Bohai Sea near the city of Dongying in Shandong province. The Yellow River basin has an east–west extent of about 1,900 kilometers (1,180 mi) and a north–south extent of about 1,100 km (680 mi). Its total drainage area is about 752,546 square kilometers (290,560 sq mi).

Its basin was the birthplace of ancient Chinese civilization, and it was the most prosperous region in early Chinese history. However, because of frequent devastating floods and course changes produced by the continual elevation of the river bed, sometimes above the level of its surrounding farm fields, it also has the names China's Sorrow and 'Scourge of the Han People'.

Yellow River: Name

Early Chinese literature including the Yu Gong or Tribute of Yu dating to the Warring States period (475 – 221 BC) refers to the Yellow River as simply 河 (Old Chinese: *C.gˤaj, modern Chinese (Pinyin) Hé), a character that has come to mean "river" in modern usage. The first appearance of the name 黃河 (Old Chinese: *N-kʷˤaŋ C.gˤaj; Middle Chinese: Huang Ha) is in the Book of Han written during the Eastern Han dynasty about the Western Han dynasty. The adjective "yellow" describes the perennial color of the muddy water in the lower course of the river, which arises from soil (loess) being carried downstream.

One of its older Mongolian names was the "Black River", because the river runs clear before it enters the Loess Plateau, but the current name of the river among Inner Mongolians is Ȟatan Gol (Хатан гол, "Queen River"). In Mongolia itself, it is simply called the Šar Mörön (Шар мөрөн, "Yellow River").

In Qinghai, the river's Tibetan name is "River of the Peacock" (Tibetan: རྨ་ཆུ།, Ma Chu; Chinese: s 玛曲, t 瑪曲, p Mǎ Qū'

Yellow River: History

Yellow River: Dynamics

The Yellow River Breaches its Course by Ma Yuan (1160–1225), Song Dynasty

The Yellow River is one of several rivers that are essential for China's very existence. At the same time, however, it has been responsible for several deadly floods, including the only natural disasters in recorded history to have killed more than a million people. The deadliest was a 1332–33 flood that killed 7 million people. Close behind is the 1887 flood, which killed anywhere from 900,000 to 2 million people, and a 1931 flood (part of a massive number of floods that year) that killed 1–4 million people.

The cause of the floods is the large amount of fine-grained loess carried by the river from the Loess Plateau, which is continuously deposited along the bottom of its channel. The sedimentation causes natural dams to slowly accumulate. These subaqueous dams were unpredictable and generally undetectable. Eventually, the enormous amount of water has to find a new way to the sea, forcing it to take the path of least resistance. When this happens, it bursts out across the flat North China Plain, sometimes taking a new channel and inundating any farmland, cities or towns in its path. The traditional Chinese response of building higher and higher levees along the banks sometimes also contributed to the severity of the floods: When flood water did break through the levees, it could no longer drain back into the river bed as it would after a normal flood as the river bed was sometimes now higher than the surrounding countryside. These changes could cause the river's mouth to shift as much as 480 km (300 mi), sometimes reaching the ocean to the north of Shandong Peninsula and sometimes to the south.

Another historical source of devastating floods is the collapse of upstream ice dams in Inner Mongolia with an accompanying sudden release of vast quantities of impounded water. There have been 11 such major floods in the past century, each causing tremendous loss of life and property. Nowadays, explosives dropped from aircraft are used to break the ice dams before they become dangerous.

Before modern dams came to China, the Yellow River was extremely prone to flooding. In the 2,540 years from 595 BCE to 1946 CE, the Yellow River has been reckoned to have flooded 1,593 times, shifting its course 26 times noticeably and nine times severely. These floods include some of the deadliest natural disasters ever recorded. Before modern disaster management, when floods occurred, some of the population might initially die from drowning but then many more would suffer from the ensuing famine and spread of diseases.

Yellow River: Ancient times

The Yellow River as depicted in a Qing dynasty illustrated map (sections)
A map of China depicting the Yellow River's path (shown in blue in the upper half of the map) in the early 19th century.

Historical documents from the Spring and Autumn period and Qin Dynasty indicate that the Yellow River at that time flowed considerably north of its present course. These accounts show that after the river passed Luoyang, it flowed along the border between Shanxi and Henan Provinces, then continued along the border between Hebei and Shandong before emptying into Bohai Bay near present-day Tianjin. Another outlet followed essentially the present course.

The river left these paths in 602 BC and shifted completely south of the Shandong Peninsula. Sabotage of dikes, canals, and reservoirs and deliberate flooding of rival states became a standard military tactic during the Warring States period. As the Yellow River valley was the major entryway to the Guanzhong area and the state of Qin from the North China Plain, Qin heavily fortified the Hangu Pass; it saw numerous battles and was also an important chokepoint protecting the Han capitals of Chang'an and Luoyang. Major flooding in AD 11 is credited with the downfall of the short-lived Xin dynasty, and another flood in AD 70 returned the river north of Shandong on essentially its present course.

Yellow River: Medieval times

From around the beginning of the 3rd century, the importance of the Hangu Pass was reduced, with the major fortifications and military bases moved upriver to Tongguan. In AD 923, the desperate Later Liang general Duan Ning again broke the dikes, flooding 1,000 square miles (2,600 km) in a failed attempt to protect his realm's capital from the Later Tang. A similar proposal from the Song engineer Li Chun concerning flooding the lower reaches of the river to protect the central plains from the Khitai was overruled in 1020: the Treaty of Shanyuan between the two states had expressly forbidden the Song from establishing new moats or changing river courses.

Breaches occurred regardless: one at Henglong in 1034 divided the course in three and repeatedly flooded the northern regions of Dezhou and Bozhou. The Song worked for five years futilely attempting to restore the previous course – using over 35,000 employees, 100,000 conscripts, and 220,000 tons of wood and bamboo in a single year – before abandoning the project in 1041. The more sluggish river then occasioned a breach at Shanghu that sent the main outlet north towards Tianjin in 1048 and by 1194 blocked the mouth of the Huai River. The buildup of silt deposits was such that even after the Yellow River later shifted its course, the Huai could no longer flow along its historic course, but instead, its water pools into Hongze Lake and then runs southward toward the Yangtze River.

A flood in 1344 returned the Yellow River south of Shandong. The Yuan dynasty was waning, and the emperor forced enormous teams to build new embankments for the river. The terrible conditions helped to fuel rebellions that led to the founding of the Ming dynasty. The course changed again in 1391 when the river flooded from Kaifeng to Fengyang in Anhui. It was finally stabilized by the eunuch Li Xing during the public works projects following the 1494 flood. The river flooded many times in the 16th century, including in 1526, 1534, 1558, and 1587. Each flood affected the river's lower course.

The 1642 flood was man-made, caused by the attempt of the Ming governor of Kaifeng to use the river to destroy the peasant rebels under Li Zicheng who had been besieging the city for the past six months. He directed his men to break the dikes in an attempt to flood the rebels, but destroyed his own city instead: the flood and the ensuing famine and plague are estimated to have killed 300,000 of the city's previous population of 378,000. The once-prosperous city was nearly abandoned until its rebuilding under the Kangxi Emperor in the Qing Dynasty.

Yellow River: Recent times

The Chinese Nationalist Army soldiers during the 1938 Yellow River flood.

Between 1851 and 1855, it returned to the north amid the floods that provoked the Nien and Taiping Rebellions. The 1887 flood has been estimated to have killed between 900,000 and 2 million people, and is the second-worst natural disaster in history (excluding famines and epidemics). The Yellow River more or less adopted its present course during the 1897 flood.

The 1931 flood killed an estimated 1,000,000 to 4,000,000, and is the worst natural disaster recorded (excluding famines and epidemics).

On 9 June 1938, during the Second Sino-Japanese War, Nationalist troops under Chiang Kai-shek broke the levees holding back the river near the village of Huayuankou in Henan, causing what has been called by Canadian historian, Diana Lary, a "war-induced natural disaster". The goal of the operation was to stop the advancing Japanese troops by following a strategy of "using water as a substitute for soldiers" (yishui daibing). The 1938 flood of an area covering 54,000 km (20,800 sq mi) took some 500,000 to 900,000 Chinese lives, along with an unknown number of Japanese soldiers. The flood prevented the Japanese Army from taking Zhengzhou, on the southern bank of the Yellow River, but did not stop them from reaching their goal of capturing Wuhan, which was the temporary seat of the Chinese government and straddles the Yangtze River.

Yellow River: Geography

Zoigê County, Sichuan.
Guide County, Qinghai in the Tibetan Plateau, upstream from the Loess Plateau.

According to the China Exploration and Research Society, the source of the Yellow River is at 34° 29' 31.1" N, 96° 20' 24.6" E in the Bayan Har Mountains near the eastern edge of the Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. The source tributuaries drain into Gyaring Lake and Ngoring Lake on the western edge of Golog Prefecture high in the Bayan Har Mountains of Qinghai. In the Zoige Basin along the boundary with Gansu, the Yellow River loops northwest and then northeast before turning south, creating the "Ordos Loop", and then flows generally eastward across the North China Plain to the Gulf of Bohai, draining a basin of 752,443 square kilometers (290,520 sq mi) which nourishes 140 million people with drinking water and irrigation.

The Yellow River passes through seven present-day provinces and two autonomous regions, namely (from west to east) Qinghai, Gansu, Ningxia, Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Henan, and Shandong. Major cities along the present course of the Yellow River include (from west to east) Lanzhou, Yinchuan, Wuhai, Baotou, Luoyang, Zhengzhou, Kaifeng, and Jinan. The current mouth of the Yellow River is located at Kenli County, Shandong.

The river is commonly divided into three stages. These are roughly the northeast of the Tibetan Plateau, the Ordos Loop, and the North China Plain. However, different scholars have different opinions on how the three stages are divided. This article adopts the division used by the Yellow River Conservancy Commission.

Yellow River: Upper reaches

Near Xunhua, Qinghai.
Liujiaxia, Gansu.

The upper reaches of the Yellow River constitute a segment starting from its source in the Bayan Har Mountains and ending at Hekou Town (Togtoh County), Inner Mongolia just before it turns sharply to the south. This segment has a total length of 3,472 kilometers (2,157 mi) and total basin area of 386,000 square kilometers (149,000 sq mi), 51.4% of the total basin area. Along this length, the elevation of the Yellow River drops 3,496 meters (11,470 ft), with an average grade of 0.10%.

The source section flows mainly through pastures, swamps, and knolls between the Bayan Har Mountains, and the Anemaqen (Amne Machin) Mountains in Qinghai. The river water is clear and flows steadily. Crystal clear lakes are characteristic of this section. The two main lakes along this section are Lake Zhaling (扎陵湖) and Lake Eling (鄂陵湖), with capacities of 4.7 billion and 10.8 billion m³ (166 and 381 billion ft), respectively. At elevations over 4,290 m (14,070 ft)) above sea level they are the two largest plateau freshwater lakes nationwide. A significant amount of land in the Yellow River's source area has been designated as the Sanjiangyuan ("'Three Rivers' Sources") National Nature Reserve, to protect the source region of the Yellow River, the Yangtze, and the Mekong.

Flowing east at the eastern edge of the Amne Machin Mountains, the Yellow River enters Maqu County in Gansu. Here, the river skirts through the high-altitude peat bog known as the Zoigê Wetlands and makes a sharp turn towards the northwest forming the border between Maqu and Zoigê County in Sichuan. Flowing now along the northern edge of Amne Machin, the river reenters Qinghai and gradually curves north towards the Longyang Gorge at Xinghai.

The valley section stretches from Longyang Gorge in Qinghai to Qingtong Gorge in Gansu. Steep cliffs line both sides of the river. The water bed is narrow and the average drop is large, so the flow in this section is extremely turbulent and fast. There are 20 gorges in this section, the most famous of these being the Longyang, Jishi, Liujia, Bapan, and Qingtong gorges. The flow conditions in this section makes it the best location for hydroelectric plants. The Yellow River exits Qinghai for the second and final time in these gorges and enters Gansu for the second time just before Liujia Gorge. Downstream from the Yanguo Gorge, the provincial capital of Lanzhou is built upon the Yellow River's banks. The Yellow River flows northeasterly out of Gansu and into Ningxia before the Qingtong Gorge.

After emerging from the Qingtong Gorge, the river comes into a section of vast alluvial plains, the Yinchuan Plain and Hetao Plain. In this section, the regions along the river are mostly deserts and grasslands, with very few tributaries. The flow is slow. The Hetao Plain has a length of 900 km (560 mi) and width of 30 to 50 km (19 to 31 mi). It is historically the most important irrigation plain along the Yellow River.

Yellow River: Middle reaches

At Lanzhou, Gansu
At Shapotou, Ningxia
At Luoyang, Henan

The Ordos Loop formed by an enormous twist of the Yellow River, beginning at Zhongning County in Ningxia and ending with a drastic eastward turn at its confluence with the Wei at Tongguan in Shaanxi. However, the official division for the middle reaches of the river run from Hekou in Togtoh County, Inner Mongolia, to Zhengzhou, Henan. The middle reaches are 1,206 km (749 mi) long, with a basin area of 344,000 square kilometers (133,000 sq mi), 45.7% of the total, with a total elevation drop of 890 m (2,920 ft), an average drop of 0.074%. There are 30 large tributaries along the middle reaches, and the water flow is increased by 43.5% on this stage. The middle reaches contribute 92% of the river's silts.

The middle stream of the Yellow River passes through the Loess Plateau, where substantial erosion takes place. The large amount of mud and sand discharged into the river makes the Yellow River the most sediment-laden river in the world. The highest recorded annual level of silts discharged into the Yellow River is 3.91 billion tons in 1933. The highest silt concentration level was recorded in 1977 at 920 kg/m³ (57.4 lb/ft). These sediments later deposit in the slower lower reaches of the river, elevating the river bed and creating the famous "river above ground". From Hekou to Yumenkou, the river passes through the longest series of continuous valleys on its main course, collectively called the Jinshan Valley. The abundant hydrodynamic resources stored in this section make it the second most suitable area to build hydroelectric power plants. The famous Hukou Waterfall is in the lower part of this valley on the border of Shanxi and Shaanxi.

Yellow River: Lower reaches

In the lower reaches, from Zhengzhou, Henan to its mouth, a distance of 786 km (488 mi), the river is confined to a levee-lined course as it flows to the northeast across the North China Plain before emptying into the Bohai Sea. The basin area in this stage is only 23,000 square kilometers (8,900 sq mi), a mere 3% of the total, because few tributaries add to the flow in this stage; nearly all rivers to the south drain into the Huai River, whereas those to the north drain into the Hai River. The total drop in elevation of the lower reaches is 93.6 m (307 ft), with an average grade of 0.012%.

The silts received from the middle reaches form sediments here, elevating the river bed. During 2,000 years of levee construction, excessive sediment deposits have raised the riverbed several meters above the surrounding ground.

At Kaifeng, Henan, the Yellow River is 10 meters (33 ft) above the ground level.

Yellow River: Tributaries

The mouth of the Daxia River (coming from bottom right), flowing into the Yellow River's Liujiaxia Reservoir in Linxia Prefecture, Gansu

Tributaries of the Yellow River listed from its source to its mouth include:

  • White River
  • Black River
  • Huang Shui
    • Datong River
  • Daxia River
  • Tao River
  • Zuli River
  • Qingshui River
  • Dahei River
  • Kuye River
  • Wuding River
  • Fen River
  • Wei River (the Wei River is the largest of these tributaries)
  • Luo River
  • Qin River
  • Dawen River
  • Kuo River

Yellow River: Characteristics

Expansion of the Yellow River Delta from 1989 to 2009 in five year intervals.

The Yellow River is notable for the large amount of silt it carries-1.6 billion tons annually at the point where it descends from the Loess Plateau. If it is running to the sea with sufficient volume, 1.4 billion tons are carried to the sea annually. One estimate gives 34 kilograms of silt per cubic meter as opposed to 10 for the Colorado and 1 for the Nile.

Its average discharge is said to be 2,110 cubic meters per second (32,000 for the Yangtze), with a maximum of 25,000 and minimum of 245. However, since 1972, it often runs dry before it reaches the sea. The low volume is due to increased agricultural irrigation, increased by a factor of five since 1950. Water diverted from the river as of 1999 served 140 million people and irrigated 74,000 km² (48,572 mi²) of land. The Yellow River delta totals 8,000 square kilometers (3,090 mi²). However, with the decrease in silt reaching the sea, it has been reported to be shrinking slightly each year since 1996 through erosion.

The highest volume occurs during the rainy season from July to October, when 60% of the annual volume of the river flows. Maximum demand for irrigation is needed between March and June. In order to capture excess water for use when needed and for flood control and electricity generation, several dams have been built, but their expected life is limited due to the high silt load. A proposed South–North Water Transfer Project involves several schemes to divert water from the Yangtze River: one in the western headwaters of the rivers where they are closest to one another, another from the upper reaches of the Han River, and a third using the route of the old Grand Canal.

Due to its heavy load of silt the Yellow River is a depositing stream – that is, it deposits part of its carried burden of soil in its bed in stretches where it is flowing slowly. These deposits elevate the riverbed which flows between natural levees in its lower reaches. Should a flood occur, the river may break out of the levees into the surrounding lower flood plain and take a new channel. Historically this has occurred about once every hundred years. In modern times, considerable effort has been made to strengthen levees and control floods.

Yellow River: Hydroelectric power dams

Liujiaxia Dam, Gansu
Sanmenxia Dam, Henan

Below is the list of hydroelectric power stations built on the Yellow River, arranged according to the first year of operation (in brackets):

  • Sanmenxia Dam (1960; Sanmenxia, Henan)
  • Sanshenggong Dam (1966)
  • Qingtong Gorge hydroelectric power station (1968; Qingtongxia, Ningxia)
  • Liujiaxia Dam (Liujia Gorge) (1974; Yongjing County, Gansu)
  • Lijiaxia Dam (1997) (Jainca County, Qinghai)
  • Yanguoxia Dam (Yanguo Gorge) hydroelectric power station (1975; Yongjing County, Gansu)
  • Tianqiao Dam (1977)
  • Bapanxia Dam (Bapan Gorge) (1980; Xigu District, Lanzhou, Gansu)
  • Longyangxia Dam (1992; Gonghe County, Qinghai)
  • Da Gorge hydroelectric power station (1998)
  • Li Gorge hydroelectric power station (1999)
  • Wanjiazhai Dam (1999; Pianguan County, Shaanxi and Inner Mongolia)
  • Xiaolangdi Dam (2001) (Jiyuan, Henan)
  • Laxiwa Dam (2010) (Guide County, Qinghai)
  • Yangqu Dam (2015) (Xinghai County, Qinghai)
  • Maerdang Dam (2016) (Maqên County, Qinghai)

As reported in 2000, the 7 largest hydro power plants (Longyangxia, Lijiaxia, Liujiaxia, Yanguoxia, Bapanxia, Daxia and Qinglongxia) had the total installed capacity of 5,618 MW.

Yellow River: Crossings

Major cities along the Yellow River
Pontoon bridge (Luokou Pontoon Bridge simplified Chinese: 洛口浮桥; traditional Chinese: 洛口浮橋; pinyin: Luòkŏu Fúqiáo) over the Yellow River in Jinan, Shandong

The main bridges and ferries by the province names in the order of downstream to upstream are:


  • Dongying Yellow River Bridge
  • Shengli Yellow River Bridge (Dongying)
  • Lijin Yellow River Bridge (Dongying)
  • Binzhou Yellow River Road-Railway Bridge
  • Binzhou Yellow River Highway Bridge
  • Binzhou–Laiwu Expressway Binzhou Yellow River Bridge (Binzhou–Zibo)
  • Huiqing Yellow River Bridge (Binzhou–Zibo)
  • Jiyang Yellow River Bridge (Jinan)
  • G20 Qingdao–Yinchuan Expressway Jinan Yellow River Bridge (Jinan)
  • Jinan Yellow River Bridge
  • Luokou Yellow River Railway Bridge (Jinan)
  • Jinan Jianbang Yellow River Bridge
  • Beijing–Shanghai High-speed Railway Jinan Yellow River Bridge (Jinan–Dezhou)
  • Beijing–Taipei Expressway Jinan Yellow River Bridge (Jinan–Dezhou)
  • Beijing–Shanghai Railway Jinan Yellow River New Bridge (Jinan–Dezhou)
  • Pingyin Yellow River Bridge (Jinan-Liaocheng)


  • Beijing–Kowloon Railway Sunkou Yellow River Bridge (Jining–Puyang)
  • Juancheng Yellow River Highway Bridge (Heze–Puyang)
  • Dongming Yellow River Highway Bridge (Heze–Puyang)


  • Kaifeng Yellow River Bridge (Kaifeng)
  • Zhengzhou Yellow River Bridge (Zhengzhou)


  • Sanmen Yellow River Bridge (Sanmenxia)


  • Hancheng Yumenkou Yellow River Bridge


  • Yinchuan Yellow River Bridge (Yinchuan)

Inner Mongolia

  • Baotou Yellow River Bridge (Baotou)


  • Lanzhou Yellow River Bridge
  • Zhongshan Bridge (Lanzhou)


  • Dari Yellow River Bridge

Yellow River: Aquaculture

Qiankun bend in Yonghe County

The Yellow River is generally less suitable for aquaculture than the rivers of central and southern China, such as the Yangtze or the Pearl River, but aquaculture is also practiced in some areas along the Yellow River. An important aquaculture area is the riverside plain in Xingyang City, upstream from Zhengzhou. Since the development of fish ponds started in Xingyang's riverside Wangcun Town in 1986, the pond systems in Wangcun have grown to the total size of 15,000 mu (10 km), making the town the largest aquaculture center in North China.

A variety of the Chinese softshell turtle popular with China's gourmets is called the Yellow River Turtle (黄河鳖). Nowadays most of the Yellow River Turtles eaten in China's restaurants comes from turtle farms, which may or may not be near the Yellow River. In 2007, construction started in Wangcun on a large farm for raising this turtle variety. With the capacity for raising 5 million turtles a year, the facility was expected to become Henan's largest farm of this kind.

Yellow River: Pollution

On 25 November 2008, Tania Branigan of The Guardian filed a report "China's Mother River: the Yellow River", claiming that severe pollution has made one-third of China's Yellow River unusable even for agricultural or industrial use, due to factory discharges and sewage from fast-expanding cities. The Yellow River Conservancy Commission had surveyed more than 8,384 mi (13,493 km) of the river in 2007 and said 33.8% of the river system registered worse than "level five" according to the criteria used by the UN Environment Program. Level five is unfit for drinking, aquaculture, industrial use, or even agriculture. The report said waste and sewage discharged into the system last year totaled 4.29b tons. Industry and manufacturing made up 70% of the discharge into the river with households accounting for 23% and just over 6% coming from other sources.

Yellow River: In culture

Qikou town along Yellow River in Shanxi Province

In ancient times, it was believed that the Yellow River flowed from Heaven as a continuation of the Milky Way. In a Chinese legend, Zhang Qian is said to have been commissioned to find the source of the Yellow River. After sailing up-river for many days, he saw a girl spinning and a cow herd. Upon asking the girl where he was, she presented him with her shuttle with instructions to show it to the astrologer Yen Chün-p'ing. When he returned, the astrologer recognized it as the shuttle of the Weaving Girl (Vega), and, moreover, said that at the time Zhang received the shuttle, he had seen a wandering star interpose itself between the Weaving Girl and the cow herd (Altair).

The provinces of Hebei and Henan derive their names from the Yellow River. Their names mean, respectively, "North of the River" and "South of the River".

Mother river, China's Sorrow, and cradle of Chinese civilization.

Traditionally, it is believed that the Chinese civilization originated in the Yellow River basin. The Chinese refer to the river as "the Mother River" and "the cradle of the Chinese civilization". During the long history of China, the Yellow River has been considered a blessing as well as a curse and has been nicknamed both "China's Pride" (simplified Chinese: 中国的骄傲; traditional Chinese: 中國的驕傲; pinyin: Zhōngguóde Jiāo'ào) and "China's Sorrow" (simplified Chinese: 中国的痛; traditional Chinese: 中國的痛; pinyin: Zhōngguóde Tòng).

When the Yellow River flows clear.

Sometimes the Yellow River is poetically called the "Muddy Flow" (simplified Chinese: 浊流; traditional Chinese: 濁流; pinyin: Zhuó Liú). The Chinese idiom "when the Yellow River flows clear" is used to refer to an event that will never happen and is similar to the English expression "when pigs fly".

"The Yellow River running clear" was reported as a good omen during the reign of the Yongle Emperor, along with the appearance of such auspicious legendary beasts as qilin (an African giraffe brought to China by a Bengal embassy aboard Zheng He's ships in 1414) and zouyu (not positively identified) and other strange natural phenomena.

Yellow River: See also

  • Central Plain (China)
  • Geography of China
  • He Bo
  • List of rivers in China
  • North China Plain
  • North China University of Water Conservancy and Electric Power
  • Water resources of China
  • Yellow River Cantata
  • Yellow River Map
  • Yellow River Piano Concerto
  • Yellow Sea
  • Red River (disambiguation)

Yellow River: References

  1. Yellow River (Huang He) Delta, China, Asia. Geol.lsu.edu (2000-02-28). Retrieved on 2013-02-04.
  2. New York Times "A Troubled River Mirrors China's Path to Modernity". 19 November 2006 p. 4.
  3. Baxter, Wm. H. & Sagart, Laurent. "Baxter–Sagart Old Chinese Reconstruction". (1.93 MB), p. 41. 2011. Accessed 11 October 2011.
  4. Parker, Edward H. China: Her History, Diplomacy, and Commerce, from the Earliest Times to the Present Day, p. 11. Dutton (New York), 1917.
  5. Geonames.de. "geonames.de: Huang He".
  6. Bawden, Charles (1997). Mongolian–English Dictionary. Kegan Paul, reprinted 2010 by Routledge. pp. 537 and 593. ISBN 9781136155888.
  7. ISBN 9780393081923.
  8. Gascoigne, Bamber and Gascoigne, Christina (2003) The Dynasties of China, Perseus Books Group, ISBN 0786712198
  9. The Ice Bombers Move Against Mongolia. strategypage.com (29 March 2011)
  10. Tregear, T. R. (1965) A Geography of China, pp. 218–219.
  11. "Flooding and communicable diseases fact sheet". World Health Organization. p. 2. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
  12. Gernet, Jacques. Le monde chinois, p. 59. Map "4. Major states of the Chunqiu period (Spring and Autumn)". (in French)
    English version: Gernet, Jacques (1996), A History of Chinese Civilization (Second ed.), Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-49781-7
  13. "Qin Dynasty Map".
  14. Allaby, Michael & Garrat, Richard. Facts on File Dangerous Weather Series: Floods, p. 142. Infobase Pub., 2003. ISBN 0-8160-5282-4. Accessed 15 October 2011.
  15. Elvin, Mark & Liu Cuirong (eds.) Studies in Environment and History: Sediments of Time: Environment and Society in Chinese History, pp. 554 ff. Cambridge Uni. Press, 1998. ISBN 0-521-56381-X. Accessed 15 Oct. 2011.
  16. Grousset, Rene. The Rise and Splendour of the Chinese Empire, p. 303. University of California Press, 1959.
  17. Tsai, Shih-Shan Henry. SUNY Series in Chinese Local Studies: The Eunuchs in the Ming Dynasty. SUNY Press, 1996. ISBN 0791426874, 9780791426876. Accessed 16 Oct 2012.
  18. Lorge, Peter Allan. War, Politics and Society in Early Modern China, 900–1795, p. 147. Routledge, 2005. ISBN 978-0-415-31691-0.
  19. Xu Xin. The Jews of Kaifeng, China: History, Culture, and Religion, p. 47. Ktav Publishing Inc, 2003. ISBN 978-0-88125-791-5.
  20. International Rivers Report. "Before the Deluge". 2007.
  21. Needham, Joseph. Science and Civilization in China. Vol. 1. Introductory Orientations, p. 68. Caves Books Ltd. (Taipei), 1986 ISBN 052105799X.
  22. Lary, Diana. "The Waters Covered the Earth: China's War-Induced Natural Disaster". Op. cit. in Selden, Mark & So, Alvin Y., eds. War and State Terrorism: The United States, Japan, and the Asia-Pacific in the Long Twentieth Century, pp. 143–170. Rowman & Littlefield, 2004 ISBN 0742523918.
  23. China's Yellow River, Part 1. The New York Times (2007-05-30)
  24. Yellow River Conservancy Commission. Yellowriver.gov.cn. Retrieved on 2013-02-04.
  25. Leung, George (1996). "Reclamation and Sediment Control in the Middle Yellow River Valley". Water International. 21 (1): 12–19. doi:10.1080/02508069608686482.
  26. Yellow River Delta Shrinking 7.6 Square Kilometers Annually, China Daily 1 February 2005
  27. Yellow River Upstream Important to West-East Power Transmission People's Daily, 14 December 2000
  28. Yellow River Bridges (Baidu Encyclopedia) (in Chinese)
  29. Yellow River Bridge Photos (Baidu) (in Chinese)
  30. Yellow River Highway Bridge Photos (Baidu) (in Chinese)
  31. 黄河畔的荥阳市万亩鱼塘 (Ten thousand of mu of fish ponds in the riverside Xingyang), 2011-09-30
  32. 荥阳开建河南省最大黄河鳖养殖基地 (Construction started in Xingyang on the province's largest Yellow River Turtle farm), www.zynews.com,  2007-07-24
  33. Branigan, Tania (25 November 2008). "One-third of China's Yellow River 'unfit for drinking or agriculture' Factory waste and sewage from growing cities has severely polluted major waterway, according to Chinese research". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved 14 March 2009.
  34. This article incorporates text from entry Chang Chên-chou in A Chinese Biographical Dictionary by Herbert A. Giles (1898), a publication now in the public domain.
  35. Cheng, Linsun and Brown, Kerry (2009) Berkshire encyclopedia of China, Berkshire Publishing Group, p. 1125 ISBN 978-0-9770159-4-8
  36. Duyvendak, J.J.L. (1939). "The True Dates of the Chinese Maritime Expeditions in the Early Fifteenth Century". T'oung Pao, Second Series. 34 (5): 401–403. JSTOR 4527170.
  • The DELIGHT Project, Delta Information System for Geoenvironmental and Human Habitat Transition
  • Listen to the Yellow River Ballade from the Yellow River Cantata
  • First raft descent of the Yellow River from its source in Qinghai to its mouth (1987)
  • Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Strategies in the Yellow River Basin – UNESCO report
Works from the National Central Library about the Yellow River
  • "Illustrations of Guarding the Yellow River". wdl.org. World Digital Library.
  • Illustrated Work on the Storage and Drainage Activities at the Lakes and Rivers of the Yellow River and the Grand Canal
  • General Atlas Depicting the Conditions of the Yellow River Dykes in Henan Province
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