Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province, is the largest city in Central China, with a population of 7.3 million and an are of 8,467 square kilometers. It is the center of economy, culture, and politics in Central China, and is one of the most important cities in China. Today Wuhan is enjoying a boom that may help catch up to other booming cosmopolitan areas.
Wuhan is actually a conglomeration of what were once three independent cities, that is Wuchang, Hankou, and Hanyang. Wushang was established during the Han Dynasty (206BC - 220 AD) and became a regional capital under the Yuan and is currently the seat of the local government. It used to be a walled city, but walls have long since gone. Hankou, on the other was nothing more than a village until the Treaty of Nanjing opened it to foreign trade. There were five foreign concession areas in Hankou, all grouped around present-day Zhongsha Dadao.
Arriving in 1861, the British were the first on the scene, followed by the Germans in 1895, then the Russians, followed by the French in 1896 and the Japanese in 1898. With the building of the Beijing-Wuhan railway in the 1920s, Hankou really began to expand and become the first major industrial center in the interior of China. Hangyang has been outstripped by neighboring Hankou, and today is the smallest municipality. It dates back to 600 AD, when a town was first developed on the site. During the second half of the 19th century it was developed for heavy industry. The plant for the manufacture of iron and steel, built in 1891, was the first modern one in China and it was followed during the early 1900s by a string of riverside factories. The 1930s depression and the Japanese invasion completely ruined Hanyang's heavy industry and since the Communist Revolution the main activity has been light industry.
Wuhan is the largest financial and commercial center in Central China. More than 2,000 financial estates are involved in saving and financing of capital, issuing and exchange of stocks and bonds. Both state and private-run commercial enterprises make Wuhan a flourishing market. And the foreign trade of Wuhan also enjoys an important position in the whole country. Many famous foreign enterprises have seen Wuhan and have made investments to establish joint ventures, such as Citron from France, Budweiser and Coca-Cola from the U.S.A, NEC from Japan and Philips from Holland.
Wuhan is a major port of Yangzi. So, Wuhan became a major junction of traffic and communication in Inner China. Today, two airports, two international harbors, several national railways, and a highway give Wuhan a greater capacity for transportation. Today's Wuhan ranks in third position in China in the field of Science and Technology. Besides, more than 500 research institutes and universities give Wuhan powerful resources for its industries.
Wuhan spread its influence thousands of miles away, while the regions from 400 KM around Wuhan had formed a special cultural and economic zone centered in Wuhan. This special zone shares the same culture of Chu. The Chu Culture originated in Hubei, one of the main Chinese cultural schools, arising from the ancient Kingdom of Chu. This traditional culture mixed with modern civilization makes this area rich in tourism. So, numerous natural and artificial attractions and scenic spots are scattered around.
And there is Yangzi River Bridge that links between Wuchang and Hanyang. It is no less than 1100m long and 80m high. The completion of the bridge in 1957 marked one of Communist China's first greater engineering achievements, because until then all road and rail traffic had to be laboriously ferried across the river. And hubei Provincial Museum collects many artifacts came from the Zenghouyi Tomb, which was unearthed in 1978 on the outskirts of Suizhou City, about highway along the railway line between the cities of Wuhan and Xiangfan. The tomb dates back from around 433 BC, in the Warring States Period. The male internee was buried with about 7000 of his favorite artifacts, including bronze ritual vessels, weapons, horse and chariot equipment, bamboo instruments and utensils, and gold and jade objects.
You can see the reminder of revolution occurred during this century in Wuhan. For example, there is Mao Zedong's Villa in Wuhan. It has Mao's living quarters, which consists of offices, a private swimming pool and a meeting room where key decisions were made during the Cultural Revolution. Mao stayed here more than 20 times between 1960 and 1974, including nearly 18 months between 1966 and 1969. Jiang Qing joined him, but only three times, for she may not have liked the place. And Former Headquarters of 1911 is a small square with statue of Sun Yasten. There is a small square with a statue of Sun Yasten. And there is a colonial-style red brick building, which was the headquarters for the Wuchang uprising of 10 October 1911, which topples the Qing Dynasty. Wuhan has some pretty good eating houses in all price ranges. Popular local snacks include fresh catfish from nearby lakes and charcoal-grilled whole pigeons served with a sprinkling of chili.
In the Hubei Provincial Museum, there is also an interesting exhibit of lacquer-ware and musical instruments, including a display of bronze bells. Various examples of musical recordings are for sale in gift shops.