Chongqing is the most populous municipality of China. Its 2005 population estimate of 30,000,000 includes the city's extensive suburbs and countryside as well as the urban core. Located on the Yangtze River just east of Sichuan Province, Chongqing today is an industrial powerhouse and gateway city for Three Gorges river tours and the Buddhist caves at Dazu. As the capital of China during WW II, the city was heavily bombed by the Japanese and served as the headquarters, both of Chiang Kai-shek's Kuomintang, and of the Chinese Communist Party.
The People's Hall was built in 1951. Its form was influenced by Qing Dynasty architecture. Its marble balustrades, red columns, and traditional roofs recall the Forbidden City in Beijing, while its central auditorium was inspired by Beijing's Temple of Heaven. The circular auditorium holds 4200 seats and is used as a performance venue. Long wings on either side house the People's Hotel. The photo on the left was taken in 2007, looking across People's Square from the steps of the new Three Gorges Museum. The closeup on the right is from 1996.