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Located at the middle reaches of the Yellow Rivers, it is one of the birthplaces of Chinese culture. According to legend, 5,000 years ago, Sanmenxia was a death gorge for ships with its rushing waters and narrow, winding tunnels.

Dayu, a hero skillful at taming rivers, split the gorge into three pieces with his magical hatchet, which are known as 人門 Man's Gate, 鬼門 Devil's Gate and 神門 God's Gate - hence came the name Sanmenxia (Three Gates Gorge).

The city of Sanmenxia was born when the first dam on the Yellow River, the Sanmenxia Dam, was completed in 1960. The dangerous rapids are no more and the Sanmenxia Reservoir has replaced them.

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