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Cascading over the cliffs where the Yangtze and Jialing Rivers meet is the city of Chongqing: the biggest metropolitan area in the world. The city, famous for its foggy days, steep streets, and spicy cuisine, is typically the first or last stop for cruises through the Three Gorges along the Yangtze River, but a rich history and massive economic boom make it a worthwhile destination in itself.

In 1938, Chongqing underwent a transformation from a remote walled village to China’s last WWII capital. The expansion came when the Japanese took Hankou and villagers all along the Yangtze River fled upriver to Chongqing. While the city managed to survive over three years of bombings, most of the surviving structures and neighborhoods eventually succumbed to urban development. Modern Chongqing may look nothing like the wartime capital, but visitors can still revisit the past at the Stilwell Museum, housed in the former residence of General Stilwell of the Flying Tigers.

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