a small town with a population of approximately 28,000 and is located
on the Wu Jiang (river) in the north east of Guizhou Province. The main
part of town where most of the shops and busineses are found is on the
steep slopes of the west bank. For this reason the main streets tend to
traverse roughly parallel to the river steadily climbing before changing
direction to reach higher levels.
A typical Yanhe street (left) .............................. . A large
flight of steps rises up beneath the buildings (right)
The more affluent shops and hotels are towards the north of the town and
the busy pavements along the main shopping street are fenced from the
road for safety with gaps at intervals. Alongside the river itself is
a relatively new promenade that runs along the top of the huge stone embankment
walls. Steps lead down between the houses to a sunken street filled with
vegetable and food stalls and lined with many colourful umbrellas.
Market alley (left) ..............................................................................................
Main Yanhe market (right)
At the far end is a small chicken and duck market. At a few places the
promenade is linked to the streets behind by small bridges which lead
onto the quieter end of the main shopping street. A wide and tall flight
of steps climbs steeply and impressively between large buildings to the
next level however there are also many small flights of steps at various
points that pick their way up between the appartments. Below the promenade
the mud and rocky river banks are lined with many river craft designed
with flat bottoms to negotiate the river at low flow. Out on the water
there are many rocky reefs which must be carefully navigated and these
create nasty standing waves and eddies. These boats provide a useful taxi
service for local people who live in the surrounding villages. Also along
the banks local fishermen tend multiple fishing rods and their lines stretch
out into the ebbing waters.
River boats and anglers on river banks beneath the town
The river is crossed by two road bridges at either end of town and due
to the large fluctuations in river level, huge reinforced dry stone walls
made from big blocks are being laboriously constructed with tower cranes
along both river banks to protect the town buildings. This significant
engineering project already stretches for hundreds of metres either side
of town. 7 kilometres to the south is another large construction project
to build a dam. The river has been partially claimed back with a long
concrete wharf that has been engineered along its centreline. The slopes
on either side have been excavated and quarried back to soud bedrock and
then reinforced with tie bars and concrete. Two high level but temporary
suspension bridges allow traffic across at this location one at a time!
Dam construction site north of Yanhe
The east bank of the river is far less developed although a main road
with shops and businesses does run roughly parallel to it but well inland.
From the main part of town a large cemetery occupies the hillside on this
side of the river.
The river defences protect Yanhe
Yanhe's bridge in the south part of town
From Yanhe the Wu Jiang flows through a limestone gorge about 9km kilometres
north of town and continues northward toward Chongqing where it meets
An impressive gorge cuts through the limestone hills north of Yanhe