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Hubei Cities

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Wuhan is the capital of Hubei Province of China, and is the most populous city in central China. It lies at the east of Jianghan Plain, and the intersection of the middle reaches of the Yangtze and Han River. Arising out of the conglomeration of three boroughs, Wuchang, Hankou, and Hanyang, Wuhan is known as the "thoroughfare of nine provinces"; it is a major transportation hub, with dozens of railways, roads and expressways passing through the city. The city of Wuhan, first termed as such in 1927, has a population of approximately 9,100,000 people (2006), with about 6,100,000 residents in its urban area. In the 1920s, Wuhan was the capital of a leftist Kuomintang (KMT) government led by Wang Jingwei in opposition to Chiang Kai-shek, now Wuhan is recognized as the political, economic, financial, cultural, educational and transportation center of central China.

Geography and Climate
Wuhan is situated in the middle of Hubei Province, 113°41′-115°05′ East, 29°58′-31°22′ North, east of the Jianghan Plain, and the confluence of the middle reaches of the Yangtze River and Hanshui River.

The metropolitan area comprises three parts - Wuchang, Hankou, and Hanyang, commonly called the "Three Towns of Wuhan" (hence the name "Wuhan", combining "Wu" from the first city and "Han" from the other two). The consolidation of these three cities occurred in 1927 and Wuhan was thereby established. These three parts face each other across the rivers and are linked by bridges, including one of the first modern bridges in China, known as the "First Bridge". It is simple in geographical structure - low and flat in the middle and hilly in the south, with the Yangtze and Han rivers winding through the city. Wuhan occupies a land area of 8494.41 km2, most of which is plain and decorated with hills and a great number of lakes and pools.

Wuhan's climate is humid subtropical with abundant rainfall and four distinctive seasons. Wuhan is known for its oppressively humid summers, when dewpoints can often reach 26°C or more. Because of its hot summer weather, Wuhan is known as one of the Three Furnaces of China, along with Nanjing and Chongqing. Wuhan is by far the hottest of the Three Furnaces; the average high temperature in July is 37.2°C (99°F), and the maximum often exceeds 40°C (104°F).[citation needed] Spring and autumn are generally mild, while winter is cool with occasional snow. In recent thirty years, the average annual rainfall is 1269 mm, mainly from June to August; annual temperature is 15.8℃-17.5℃, annual frost free period lasts 211 to 272 days and annual sunlight duration is 1810 to 2100 hours.

The area was first settled more than 3,000 years ago. During the Han Dynasty, Hanyang became a fairly busy port. In the 3rd century AD one of the most famous battles in Chinese history and a central event in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms - the Battle of Red Cliffs - took place in the vicinity of the cliffs near Wuhan. Around that time, walls were built to protect Hanyang (AD 206) and Wuchang (AD 223). The latter event marks the foundation of Wuhan. In AD 223, the Yellow Crane Tower (Huang He Lou) was constructed on the Wuchang side of the Yangtze River. Cui Hao, a celebrated poet of Tang Dynasty, visited the building in the early 8th century; his poem made the building the most celebrated building in southern China. The city has long been renowned as a center for the arts (especially poetry) and for intellectual studies. Under the Mongol rulers (Yuan Dynasty), Wuchang was promoted to the status of provincial capital. By approximately 300 years ago, Hankou had become one of the country's top four trading towns.

Wuhan Custom House, opened in 1862In the late 1800s railroads were extended on a north-south axis through this city, which then became an important transshipment point between rail and river traffic. At this time foreign powers extracted mercantile concessions, with the riverfront of Hankou being divided up into various foreign controlled merchant districts. These districts contained trading firm offices, warehouses, and docking facilities.

In 1911, Sun Yat-sen's followers launched the Wuchang Uprising that led to the collapse of the Qing Dynasty and the establishment of the Republic of China. Wuhan was the capital of a leftist Kuomintang government led by Wang Jingwei in opposition to Chiang Kai-shek during the 1920s.

In 1938, Wuhan and its proximities became the battlefield of the Battle of Wuhan, a major conflict in the Second Sino-Japanese War. After being taken by the Japanese in 1938, Wuhan became a major Japanese logistics center for operations in southern China. In December 1944, the city was largely destroyed by U.S. firebombing raids conducted by the Fourteenth Air Force. In 1967, civil strife struck the city in the Wuhan Incident as a result of tension brought by the Cultural Revolution.

The city has been subject to numerous devastating floods, which are supposed to be controlled by the ambitious Three Gorges Dam. That project is set to be completed in 2011.

Tourist Sites
Replica instruments of ancient originals are played at the Hubei Provincial Museum. A replica set of bronze concert bells is in the background and a set of stone chimes is to the rightWuchang has the largest lake within a city in China, the East Lake, as well as the South Lake.

The Hubei Provincial Museum includes many artifacts excavated from ancient tombs, including a concert bell set (bianzhong). A dance and orchestral show is frequently performed here, using reproductions of the original instruments.
The Rock and Bonsai Museum includes a mounted platybelodon skeleton, many unique stones, a quartz crystal the size of an automobile, and an outdoor garden with miniature trees in the penjing ("Chinese Bonsai") style. 

East lakeJiqing Street holds many roadside restaurants and street performers during the evening, and is the site of a Live Show with stories of events on this street by contemporary writer Chi Li.

The Lute Platform in Hanyang was where the legendary musician Yu Boya is said to have played. According to the story of 知音 (zhi yin, "understanding music"), Yu Boya played for the last time over the grave of his friend Zhong Ziqi, then smashed his lute because the only person able to appreciate his music was dead.
Ancient bronze concert bells at the Hubei Provincial MuseumSome luxury riverboat tours begin here after a flight from Beijing or Shanghai, with several days of flatland cruising and then climbing through the Three Gorges with passage upstream past the Gezhouba and Three Gorges dams to the city of Chongqing. With the completion of the dam a number of cruises now start from the upstream side and continue west, with tourists traveling by motor coach from Wuhan. 

Chu TiantaiThe Yellow Crane Tower (Huanghelou) is presumed to have been first built in approximately 220 AD. The tower has been destroyed and reconstructed numerous times, was burned last according to some sources in 1884. The tower underwent complete reconstruction in 1981. The reconstruction utilized modern materials and added an elevator, while maintaining the traditional design in the tower's outward appearance.

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