Wuhan, city (1994 est. pop. 3,519,600), capital of Hubei prov., central China, at the junction of the Han and Chang rivers. The great industrial, commercial, and transportation center of central China, Wuhan comprises (since 1950) the former cities of Hankou, Hanyang, and Wuchang. Situated in the heart of China, virtually equidistant from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Chengdu, it is an air, river, and rail hub dominating the middle Chang plain; China's main north-south railroad runs through the city. The Chang is there spanned by a mile-long bridge that accommodates both trains and motor vehicles. The busy port on the Chang, although about 600 mi (970 km) from the sea, handles large oceangoing vessels. Wuhan is one of the most important industrial centers in China; it has the country's second largest concentration of metallurgical facilities. Also in the city are railroad shops, automotive works, textile mills, food-processing establishments, and plants making heavy machinery, glass, cement, fertilizer, electronics, pharmaceuticals, and paper products. The many institutions of higher learning include Wuhan Univ., Central China Technical Univ., and a medical college. A bridge across the Han River links Hankou and Hanyang.
is the capital of Hubei province, and is the most populous city in central People's Republic of 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 of China, East Longitude 113°41′-115°05′, North Latitude 29°58′-31°22′.the east of 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 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 a subtropical monsoon one with abundant rainfall and distinctive four seasons. Wuhan is known for its oppressively humid summers, when dewpoints can often reach 26℃ or more. 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 (黄鹤楼) 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.

In 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 2009.

Significant Historical Events in Wuhan History

Opening Hankou as a Trading Port During the Second Opium War (known in the West as the Arrow War, 1856-1860), the Government of Qing Dynasty was defeated by the western powers and signed Treaties of Tianjin and Convention of Peking, which stipulated eleven cities or regions including Hankou as trading ports. In December 1858, James Bruce (the 8th Earl of Elgin), the head of the Royal British Navy, led four warships up the Yangtze River in Wuhan to collect the information needed for opening the trading port in Wuhan. And in the spring of 1861, Counselor Harry Parkes and Admiral Herbert were sent to Wuhan to open a trading port. On the basis of Convention of Peking, Harry Parkes concluded the Hankou Lend-Lease Treaty with Guan Wen, the governor-general of Hunan and Hubei. It brought an area of 30.53 square kilometers along the Yangtze River (from Jianghan Road to Hezuo Road today) to become British Concession and permitted Britain to set up their consulate in the British Concession. Thus, Hankou became an open trading port finally.

Hubei under Zhang Zhidong In the fifteenth year of Guangxu Period (1889) of the Qing Dynasty, Zhang Zhidong was transferred from Guangdong to be the governor-general of Hunan and Hubei. By 1906, he had governed Hubei for 17 years. During this period, he elucidated the theory of “Chinese learning as the basis, Western learning for application,” known as the ti-yong ideal. He set up many heavy industries, founded Hanyang Steel Plant, Daye Iron Mine, Pingxiang Coal Mine and Hubei Arsenal and set up local textile industries, boosting the flourishing modern industry in Wuhan. Meanwhile, he initiated educational reform, opened dozens of modern educational organizations successively, such as Lianghu (Hunan and Hubei) Academy of Classical Learning, Civil General Institute, Military General Institute, Foreign Languages Institute and Lianghu (Hunan and Hubei) General Normal School, and selected a great many students for study overseas, which well promoted the development of China’s modern education. Furthermore, he trained modern military and organized a modern army including a zhen and a xie (both zhen and xie are military units in the Qing Dynasty) in Hubei. All of these laid a solid foundation for the modernization of Wuhan.

Wuchang Uprising On October 10 of the third year of Xuantong Period of the Qing Dynasty (1911), an armed uprising broke out in Wuchang. Before uprising, with the purpose of overthrowing the Manchu Dynasty, bourgeois revolutionaries conducted deep and wide propaganda and mobilization and founded various revolutionary organizations in Wuhan. In earlier September 1911, the Qing Government moved part of the Hubei new army to Sichuan for suppressing the people’s uprising there, which made a good chance for the uprising in Wuhan. On September 14th, Literature Society and gongjinhui, the two greatest revolutionary organizations in Hubei, jointly founded the uprising headquarters in Wuchang and decided to rise up. On the morning of October 9th, the bomb at the office of the political arrangement exploded accidentally and unfortunately, and the uprising proclamation, beadroll and official seal fell into the hands of Rui Cheng, the governor-general of Hunan and Hubei, who demolished the uprising headquarters in Wuchang the same day, and decided to raid the revolutionaries according to the beadroll. At this critical moment, the conductors from the basal backbones of revolutionary organizations contacted each other secretly and made a decision of immediate uprising. On the night of 10th, the revolutionaries fired to rise in revolt at the engineering barracks of new army, and then led on the new army of all barracks to rise up successively. Under the guidance of Wu Zhaolin, Cai Jimin, etc., the revolutionary army seized the official residence of the governor and government offices including fan, nie, etc. in Hubei. Rui Cheng fled in panic into the Chu-Yu Ship anchored by the river, and Zhang Biao, the controller of Qing army, also discarded the city and fled away. On the morning of 11th, the revolutionary army took the whole city of Wuchang. But the leaders such as Jiang Yiwu, Sun Wu disappeared then, thus the acephalous revolutionary army recommended Li Yuanhong, the assistant governor of Qing army, as the commander-in-chief, founded Hubei Military Government, proclaimed the abolishment of the Qing Dynasty’s imperialism and the founding of Republic of China, as well as published an open telegram for call to uprising of every province. As the beginning of the Revolution of 1911 (led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen, which overthrew the Qing Dynasty), Wuchang Uprising played a most important role in raising upsurge of the democratic revolution, which also was called “the lead in launching the Revolution of 1911” since 1911 was the year of xinhai in traditional Chinese chronology.

National Government Moved its Capital to Wuhan In 1926, with the north extension of Northern Expedition, the center of Great Revolution shifted from the Pearl River basin to the Yangtze River basin. On November 26, the KMT Central Political Committee decided to move the capital to Wuhan. In middle December, most of the KMT central executive commissioners and National Government commissioners arrived in Wuhan, set up the temporary joint conference of central executive commissioners and National Government commissioners, performed the top functions of central party headquarters and National Government, and declared they would work in Wuhan on January 1, 1927 and decided to combined the three towns of Wuchang, Hankou, and Hanyang into Wuhan City, called “Capital District”. The National Government was located in the Nanyang Building in Hankou, while the central party headquarters and other organizations chose their locations in Hankou or Wuchang. In the earlier period after its move, the National Government approved and implemented a series of policies and resolutions in favor of people, and boosted the development of the national revolution, thus received warmly supports from the people.

The Castaway Zhongshan Warship in Jinkou In early October in 1938, Japanese aggressors moved east and north respectively upon outskirts of Wuhan. As a result, the Party and government institution, large quantities of companies and enterprises and numerous people had to withdraw from Wuhan to the west of Hubei and Sichuan. The KMT navy undertook the responsibility of defending Yangtze River on patrol and covering the withdrawal. On 24 October, when seeing over the waters of the Yangtze River near Jinkou town (Jiangxia District in Wuhan) in Wuchang, the famous navy warship of the KMT Zhongshan warship come up against 6 Japanese planes. The planes took turns to dive to strafe and bomb Zhongshan warship crazily. Though Captain Sha Shijun led the whole officers and soldiers and shot down two hostile planes, the Zhongshan warship eventually sank down due to serious ravages with 25 officers and soldiers sacrificing their valuable lives. Originally named Yongfeng warship, the Zhongshan warship, 62.1 meters long and 8.9 meters wide, was a gunboat ordered in Japanese Mitsubishi Shipyard by the Qing Government in 1910 with a tonnage of 836 tons and a speed of 13.5 sea miles/h. In 1913, Zhongshan warship with 138 seamen was incorporated in the first armada of Chinese navy, which then took part under the guidance of Cheng Biguang in the constitution defending movement launched by Sun Yat-sen in July 1917. Moreover, Sun Yat-sen stayed on Yongfeng warship for over 50 days in the command of putting down the rebellion raised by Chen Jiongming in June 1922 personally. To commemorate Sun Yat-sen, Yongfeng warship was renamed as Zhongshan warship on 13 April in 1625, which was even utilized by Jiang Jieshi to fabricate the 320 Event for excluding Communists in 1926. In view of Zhongshan warship’s significant historical values, the cultural relic department of Hubei province endeavored for years to salvage it and finally succeeded in 1996, and built a Zhongshan warship exhibition hall in Jinkou after it was repaired.

Completion and Opening-to-traffic of the First Yangtze River Bridge The project of building the First Yangtze River Bridge was regarded as one of the key projects during the period of the first five-year plan. The Engineering Bureau of the First Yangtze River Bridge, set up by the Ministry of Railway in April 1953, was responsible for the design and construction of the bridge. The document “Resolutions on Building the First Yangtze River Bridge” was passed in the 203rd conference of State Council on 15 January 1954. The technical conference on the routes of the bridge, was held in Hankou on 15 January 1955, determined that the route from Tortoise Hill to Snake Hill was the best choice. On 25 October, the bridge proper was under construction. The same day in 1957 the whole project was completed and an opening-to-traffic ceremony was held on 15 October. The whole bridge was 1670 m long, of which the superstratum was a highway with a width of 22.5 m and the substratum was a double-line railway with a width of 18 m. The bridge proper was 1156 m long with two pairs of eight piers and nine arches with a space of 128 m between each arch. Thanks to the First Yangtze River Bridge, Beijing-Wuhan and Guangdong-Wuhan railways were available and any place could be reached from Wuchang, Hankou to Hanyang. Thus Wuhan was a thoroughfare to nine provinces not only in reality but in name as well.

Administrative divisions

Wuhan administers over a dozen districts and 3 economic development districts.

  1. Jiang'an District (江岸区)
  2. Jianghan District (江汉区)
  3. Qiaokou District (硚口区)
  4. Hanyang District (汉阳区)
  5. Wuchang District (武昌区)
  6. Qingshang District (青山区)
  7. Hongshan District (洪山区)
  8. Caidian District (蔡甸区)
  9. Dongxihu District (东西湖区)
  10. Hannan District (汉南区)
  11. Jiangxia District (江夏区)
  12. Huangpi District (黄陂区)
  13. Xinzhou District (新洲区)
  14. Wuhan Economic and Technology Development District (武汉经济技术开发区)
  15. Donghu New Technology District (东湖新技术开发区)
  16. Wujiashan Taiwan Investment District (吴家山台商投资区)



Chang Jiang Bridge at Wuhan was built over the Yangtze River (Chang Jiang) in 1957, carrying the railroad directly across the river between Snake Hill (on the left in the picture below) and Turtle Hill. Before this bridge was built it could take up to an entire day to barge railcars across. Including its approaches, it is 5,511 feet (1680 m) long, and it accommodates both a double-track railway on a lower deck and a four lane roadway above. It was built with the assistance of advisers from the Soviet Union, it is therefore a strange piece of Stalinist architecture in the middle of China.

The roads expressways and bridges

The second bridge, a cable-stayed bridge, built of pre-stressed concrete, has a central span of 400 meters The Wuhan Second Changjiang Bridge is 4,678 meters in length (including 1,877 meters of the main bridge) and 26.5 to 33.5 meters in width. Its main bridgeheads are 90 meters high each, pulling 392 thick slanting cables together in the shape of double fans, so that the central span of the bridge is well poised on the piers and the bridge's stability and vibration resistance are ensured. With six lanes on the deck, the bridge is designed to handle 50,000 motor vehicles passing every day. The bridge was completed in 1995.

The third bridge

The Third Wuhan Changjiang Bridge was completed in September 2000. Located 8.6 kilometers southwest of the First Bridge, construction of Baishazhou Bridge started in 1997. With an investment of over 1.4 billion yuan (about 170 million U.S. dollars), the bridge, which is 3,586 meters long and 26.5 meters wide, has six lanes and has a capacity of 50,000 vehicles a day. The bridge is expected to serve as a major passage for the future Wuhan Ring Road, enormously easing the city's traffic and aiding local economic development.


The city proper in Wuhan is served by two railway stations located in the boroughs of Hankou and Wuchang. As a result, the railway system in China actually does not have a unique designation for the name "Wuhan", and trains heading to Wuhan are marked with the respective borough's station name, and not the city's. In 2006, construction began on a the new Wuhan Railway Station with 11 platforms.

Public transit

Wuhan Metro In September 2004, Wuhan became the sixth Chinese city with a subway system (after Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen). The first 10.2 km line (10 stations) is an elevated rail (and therefore called 'light rail' in Chinese terminology). It runs from Huangpu to Zongguan in the downtown area of the Hankou District, and it is the first one in the country to use a communication-based train control system (a Moving Block signalling system, provided by Alcatel). The designed minimum interval is only 90 seconds between two trains and it features driverless operation.


Opened in April 1995, Wuhan Tianhe International Airport is one of the busiest airports in central China and it is located 26 km north of Wuhan. It has also been selected as China's fourth international hub airport after Beijing Capital International Airport, Shanghai-Pudong and Guangzhou Baiyun. A second terminal is expected to be completed in July 2008, having been started in February 2005 with an investment of RMB3.372 billion.


Tourist sites

  • At Wuchang you can find the East Lake (the largest lake within a city in China) and South Lake.
  • The Hubei Provincial Museum includes many artifacts excavated from ancient tombs, including a magnificent and unique concert bell set (bianzhong). A dance and orchestral show is given here, using reproductions of the original instruments.
  • The Rock and Bonsai Museum includes a magnificent mounted platybelodon skeleton, many unique and finely figured rocks, a giant quartz crystal (as large as an automobile) and an outdoor garden with miniature trees in the penjing ("Chinese Bonsai ") style.
  • Some 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. Although there is no longer the excitement of fast water cruising through the three gorges, and some of the historic wall carvings are now underwater, much of the drama of the high cliffs and narrow passages remains.
  • The Yellow Crane Tower (aka. Huanghelou), modern in structure, ancient in lore and legend. The original tower 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. Jung Chang's book 'Mao The Unknown Story', however, refers to Mao ascending the Yellow Crane Pavilion in 1927 to look across the vastness of the Yangtze, suggesting a later date for its destruction. Complete reconstruction took place in 1981. The reconstruction utilized modern materials and even includes an elevator, yet in outward appearance and detail is true in spirit to the traditional design of the tower through the centuries.
  • Jiqing Street(吉庆街), a street full of road side restaurants and street performers during the evening, well-known by Chinese due to a novel Live Show (生活秀) with stories of events on this street by Chi Li.


Wuhan is a sub-provincial city. Its GDP was RMB 259 billion and GDP per capita was approximately RMB 30,200 (US$3,790) as of 2006. In 2006, the city's average disposable income was 12,360 yuan.

Wuhan has currently attracted about 50 French invested companies, over one third of French investment in China, the most among Chinese cities.

Wuhan is an important functional center for economy, trade, finance, transportation, information and technology, and education in Central China. Its major sectors include modern manufacture industry with optic-electronic information, automobile manufacture as the key components, steel manufacturing, new pharmaceutical sector, biology engineering, new material industry, environmental protection. Wuhan Iron & Steel (Group) Co. and Dongfeng-Citroen Automobile Co., Ltd settle in this city. Besides, there are in this city 35 higher educational institutions including the well-known Wuhan University, Huazhong University of Science & Technology, 3 state-level development zones and many enterprise incubators. The comprehensive strength of science and technology ranks the third in China.

Industrial zones

Major industral zones in Wuhan include:

  • Wuhan East Lake High-Tech Development Zone
  • Wuhan Economic and Technological Development Zone

Colleges and universities

Wuhan is the scientific and educational center in Central China, with 35 higher educational institutions such as Wuhan University and Huazhong University of Science and Technology, which cover all the fields of science and technology and employ elites and explorers in these fields. Wuhan has formed a comprehensive scientific and educational strength ranking the 3rd in China with its main force: three national development zones and four scientific and technologic development parks as well as numerous enterprise incubators, over 350 research institutes, 1470 hi-tech enterprises, and over 400,000 experts and technicians. There are eight national colleges and universities, and fourteen public colleges and universities in Wuhan.


Wuhan University (founded in 1893)
Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST)
Wuhan University of Technology(WUT)
China University of Geosciences
Huazhong Agricultural University (founded in 1898)
Central China Normal University(founded in 1903)(Huazhong Normal University)
Zhongnan University of Economics and Law
South-Central University for Nationalities


Hubei University
Wuhan University of Science and Technology
Jianghan University
Hubei University of Technology
Wuhan Institute of Technology
Wuhan University of Science and Engineering
Wuhan Polytechnic University
Hubei College of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Wuhan Institute of Physical Education
Hubei Institute of Fine Arts
Hubei Police College
Wuhan Conservatory of Music
Hubei University of Economics
Wuhan Bioengineering Institute
Hubei University of Education]]
Wuhan University
The College of Post & Telecommunication of WIT ]]

Note: Institutions without full-time bachelor programs are not listed.


Wuhan natives speak a dialect of Southwestern Mandarin Chinese. Because it also has a blend of southern Chinese elements, the Wuhan dialect was once promoted as the ideal basis for a Standard Chinese dialect.


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 temperature in July is 37.2°C (99°F), and the maximum often exceeds 40°C (104°F).

The Lute Platform in Hanyang was where the legendary musician Yu Boya is said to have played. 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.

Popular foods

  • Hot and Dry Noodles, Re-gan mian (热干面) consists of long freshly boiled noodles mixed with sesame paste. The Chinese word re means hot and gan means dry. It is considered to be the most typical local food for breakfast.
  • Duck's Neck or Ya Bozi (鸭脖子) is a local version of this popular Chinese dish, made of duck necks and spices.
  • Bean Pan or Doupi (豆皮)is a popular local dish with a filling of egg, rice, beef, mushrooms and beans cooked between two large round soybean skins and cut into pieces, structurally like a stuffed pizza without enclosing edges.
  • Soup Bun or Tangbao(汤包)is a kind of dumpling with thin skin made of flour, steamed with very juicy meat inside, it is called Tang (soup) Bao (bun), because every time one takes a bite from it the soup inside spills out.
  • Salty Doughnut or Mianwo (面窝) is a kind of doughnut with salty taste. It's much thinner than common doughnut, and is a typical Wuhan local food.

Famous people


In 2005, Wuhan FC won CSL (China Super League) Cup, for the first time since the Chinese professional football league was formed in 1994.
In May 2006 top Chinese soccer team Wuhan Huanghelou announced that they had formed a lucrative deal with top English team Bolton Wanderers which would see both coaching and commercial methods exchanged.

Sister cities

See also



  • Chi, Li (2000). Lao Wuhan (Old Wuhan): Yong Yuan De Lang Man... (part of the "Lao Cheng Shi" series). Nanjing: Jiangsu Meishu Chubanshe.
  • Coe, John L. (1962). Huachung University (Huazhong Daxue). New York: United Board for Christian Higher Education.
  • Danielson, Eric N. (2005). "The Three Wuhan Cities," pp.1-96 in The Three Gorges and the Upper Yangzi. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish/Times Editions.
  • Latimer, James V. (1934). Wuhan Trips: A Book on Short Trips in and Around Hankow. Hankow: Navy YMCA.
  • MacKinnon, Stephen R. (2000). "Wuhan's Search for Identity in the Republican Period," in Remaking the Chinese City, 1900-1950, ed. by Joseph W. Esherick. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.
  • Rowe, William T. (1984). Hankou: Commerce and Society, 1796-1889. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
  • Rowe, William T. (1988). Hankou: Conflict and Community in a Chinese City, 1796-1895. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
  • Song, Xiaodan and Zhu, Li (1999). Wuhan Jiu Ying (Old Photos of Wuhan). Beijing: Renmin Meishu Chubanshe (People's Fine Arts Publishing House).

External links

Search another word or see Wuhanon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature