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Hubei

Almost in the center of China, Hubei used to be part of a kingdom called Chu, in the Spring and Autumn Period ( 770 BC- 476 BC). Since ancient times, it has been a well-developed area both economically and culturally due to its superior location.

Hubei lies in the middle reaches of the Yangtze, with the ancient "Zhongyuan" (Central Plain) to its north, and the Dongtinghu Lake to its south. China's two transportation arteries, the Yangtze River, and the Beijing-Guangzhou Railway meet here. Hubei has green carpets of rice fields, clear lakes, blossoming cherry flowers in its east part, and wild mountains with primitive forests, caves, and cool fountains in its western part. Traveling along the Yangtze are ancient war sites, ancient generals and warriors, and martyrs of the republican revolution led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen.

The capital city, Wuhan, dates from the 11th century B.C. of Shang Dynasty (16th century B.C.- 11th century B.C.). It was ruled by the Kingdom of Chu during Spring and Autumn Period, and later by the Kingdom of Wu during the Three Kingdom Time (220-265). In 1911, the Republican Revolution, led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen, won a most important victory here against the Qing rulers. Having been an important port for 2000 years, Wuhan is now China's fifth largest city, and a cultural center with a large number of universities and institutes.

The Yellow Crane Tower, one of China's three largest, was built in the year 223 during the Three Kingdom Time. It stands 51 meters high on the Snake Hill, overlooking the 1670-m-long Yangtze Bridge. The tower itself is grand and splendid, an inspiration for countless poets, including Li Bai. Opposite the tower, on the other end of the bridge, stands the Tortoise Hill, which is cover all over by green trees, with Temple of King Yu, and the high Wuhan TV Tower. Two Buddhist temples, the Guiyuan Temple and the Baotong Temple. Guiyuan Temple was built over 300 years ago, it houses 500 life-size clay arhats, with vivid facial expressions and distinct personalities reflected from different gestures. The Baotong Temple, was built in 630. On Hongshan Hill is a 45-meter-high, 7-storey pagoda built in 1279, with steep steps and an excellent view. The Museum of Hubei Province houses many precious archaeological pieces, including bronzes, weapons, lacquer, musical instruments, gold, and jade excavated from Zenghouyi Tomb (Marquis Yi of Warring States Period) 2400 years ago.

Those who have read the novel "Romance of the Three Kingdoms" will find Chibi (Red Cliff) on the Yangtze an exciting war site. That is where, in the year 208, the three kingdoms had a fierce fight. Admirers of Zhu Geliang will naturally visit Longzhong, where the wise strategist farmed and read until Li Bei, later King of the Shu Kingdom, visited him three times to invite him to be his adviser.

In eastern Hubei, Mt. Wudang is a large Taoist center, with the Taoist temple, Temple of Purple Heaven. One of the most famous boxing exercises, Wudang Boxing, was created here by a Taoist monk, Zhang Sanfeng. Standing on top of the peak, Tianzhu (Heaven's Column), you can view the below mountain tops from a bronze hall. Mt. Shennongjia (Ladder of Farming God), is alive with plants and wild animals, ancient pines, primitive forests, veiled in mists and white clouds, splashing waterfalls, tiger, leopard, gold-monkey, panda and even stories of the "Wild Man" exist.

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Site Created: September 16, 1998; Updated: September 23, 2007.