Cuntan, Laitan, Gongtan… How many place names in Chongqing with “Tan”?
CHONGQING (CQNEWS) -- The mountains are made alive by the water, the water is made beautiful by the mountains, and the city is made spiritual by both. As a result, Chongqing has developed a unique landscape toponym culture, with special place names such as “Xia, Qi, Bei, Tan, Dao, Dang”.
Statistics show that there are nine place names of towns, streets and townships and 72 place names of communities and villages in Chongqing with the word “Tan” (bottomlands in English) in them. Recently, Chongqing Bureau of Planning and Natural Resources and Chongqing Geographic Information and Remote Sensing Application Center launched the “Beach” Chapter of Chongqing Toponym Culture Map. Follow this map to get to know the “Tan” of Chongqing in the context of place names.
Tan means flood plain in English. When rivers flow through flat areas, they often form curves due to inertia and accumulate sediment on the convex banks, which gradually rise and expand, creating flood plains in the dry season.
In addition, Tan can also refer to a place where the water is shallow and rocky but the current is very strong. In the past, there were numerous such dangerous shoals in the Yangtze River, which were not conducive to shipping, but most of them no longer exist after the construction of the Three Gorges Project.
Because of the inseparable relationship between the river and Tan, most of the place names with “Tan” in Chongqing are found along the rivers in the flat dam and paralleled ridge-valley of western Chongqing, while the place name with “Tan” is less often used in the high mountains and deep valleys of southeastern and northeastern Chongqing. The industrious and wise people took advantage of the flat terrain, fertile soil and convenient irrigation to develop farmland and settle there, or to fish on the riverside beaches, making the “Tan” an important place of production and life for the Bayu people. Nowadays, many prosperous areas in Chongqing have been developed on the basis of bottomlands, such as Jiulongpo, named after “Jiulongtan”, a dangerous and narrow area in the river.
In the river city of Chongqing, there are countless bottomlands formed along the rivers, and their names have a distinctive identity. Some are named after the shape and size of the bottomland, such as Jiantan, Changtan, Datan and Xiaotan; some are named after references in the bottomland, such as Cuntan, Longtan and Shitan; some are named after the family names of the people living on the bottomland, such as Matan and Gongtan; and others are named after the treacherousness of the rivers near the bottomland or the sound of running water, such as Laitan, Xiangshuitan and Xiangtan.
Place names with “Tan” of towns, streets and townships in Chongqing:
Changtan Town, Wanzhou District
It was once known as Changtanjing because the flood land here was about 500 meters long and a salt well had been exploited in ancient times, hence the name.
Cuntan Sub-district, Jiangbei District
It is said that there is a shoal in the river here, and during the dry season, the rocks are exposed to the surface of the river, in which there is a stone resembling a weighbeam, hence the name “Chengtan”. The pronunciation of Cun and Cheng, so it was later named Cuntan.
Longtanzi Sub-district, Dazu District
The area has two rocky hills facing each other from north to south, rolling up and down, reaching towards the stream, for which people say they look like two dragons crossing the bottomland, hence the name.
Wutan Town, Jiangjin District
Wutan Field is located at the confluence of the Bihe River and the Jianliang River, where there are many shoals in the rivers. The area around it was originally barren and known as “Wutan”. The field was built in the Ming Dynasty and people called it Wutan with similar Chinese pronunciation.
Shitan Town, Hechuan District
The name Shitan was given to boulders in the Tiaodeng River that “look like hunting, standing lion, squatting or sawing lions”.
Laitan Town, Hechuan District
It was named after the dangerous shoal in the center of the Qujiang River (known in ancient times as Dangqu).
Gongtan Town, Youyang Tujia Tujia and Miao Autonomous County
It is said that during the Wanli period of the Ming Dynasty, a flash flood caused the collapsed rocks to fill the Wujiang River and form a bottomland, making it impassable for boats, gradually forming an ancient town with a large number of residents with the surname Gong, hence the name Gongtan. (Translated by Wang Huixin, Fathom Language Limited)