Since the completion of the Sanmenxia Damn, Sanmenxia City, a richly endowed land, has emerged as a boom town. Legend has it that Da Yu, an ancient hero, hacked out three clefts in the mountain with a pole ax so that the flood course could be changed. The clefts have become three gorges, namely Ren Men, Shen Men and Gui Men and the place derived its name, Sanmenxia (literally three gorges). The only city where swans inhabit along the Yellow River and an important birthplace of the Yellow River Culture, the place is reputed as a gem studded along the banks of the Yellow River.

Situated in the border area of three provinces of Henan, Shanxi and Shaanxi, Sanmenxia is surrounded by Luoyang to the east, Funiu Mountain to the south where it lies next to Nanyang. To the west it faces Xi'an, an ancient city and divided by the Yellow River, and it is close to Shanxi Province. In history, Sanmenxia was an economic and cultural centre of this border area. It has an area of 10,946km2 and a population of 2.13 million among which the urban population is 235,000. Under its administration are now three counties (Shanxian, Mianchi, Lushi), two cities (Yima, Lingbao) and one district (Hubin).

The long-standing Yellow River culture has made its impact across the region and the discovery and excavation of the remains at Yangshao village has proven critical in the study of primitive chinese society, opening a new chapter for Neolithic archaeology research in China.

The adventurous foodie can try local favorites of Guanyintang beef, Shanzhou preserved eggs in rice wine, Sanmenxia fried dough twists, dadao noodles, Shizhi steamed buns, lingbao apples, zhen cake, concubine apricots, and lingbao dates.

Locked in the deep valleys beside which runs the Yellow River, the place derived its name, Huangu (literally, a valley) Pass..

Situated to the south of Shanxian in Sanmenxia, the National Forest Park boasts seasonal views and abundant natural resources.

The Chariot and Horse Pit Museum was built in 1984 with an ancient architectural style.