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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
|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|
|Wuhan University of Science and Technology|
|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]]|
|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.
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.