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Provinces

 

 

 

 

Hu Bei

 

 

 

 

Hubei (Chinese: 湖北; pinyin: About this sound Húběi; Wade–Giles: Hu-pei; Postal map spelling: Hupeh) is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the central part of the country. The name of the province means "north of the lake", referring to its position north of Lake Dongting. The provincial capital is Wuhan, a major transportation thoroughfare and the political, cultural, and economic hub of Central China.

 

Hubei is officially abbreviated to "鄂" (È), an ancient name associated with the eastern part of the province since the Qin dynasty, while a popular name for Hubei is "楚" (Chǔ), after the powerful state of Chu that existed here during the Eastern Zhou dynasty. It borders Henan to the north, Anhui to the east, Jiangxi to the southeast, Hunan to the south, Chongqing to the west, and Shaanxi to the northwest. The high-profile Three Gorges Dam is located at Yichang, in the west of the province.

 

 

Geography

 

The Jianghan Plain takes up most of central and eastern Hubei, while the west and the peripheries are more mountainous, with ranges such as the Wudang Mountains, the Jing Mountains, the Daba Mountains, and the Wu Mountains (in rough north-to-south order). The Dabie Mountains lie to the northeast of the Janghan Plain, on the border with Henan and Anhui; the Tongbai Mountains lie to the north on the border with Henan; to the southeast, the Mufu Mountains form the border with Jiangxi. The highest peak in Hubei is Shennong Peak, found in the Daba Mountains and in the forestry area of Shennongjia; it has an altitude of 3105 m.

 

 

The two major river of Hubei are the Yangtze and its left tributary Hanshui; they give their name to the Jianghan Plain. The Yangtze River enters Hubei from the west via the Three Gorges; the eastern half of the Three Gorges (Xiling Gorge and part of Wu Gorge) lies in western Hubei, while the western half is in neighbouring Chongqing. The Hanshui enters the province from the northwest. After crossing most of the province, the two great rivers meet at Wuhan, the provincial capital.

 

Among the notable tributaries of the Yangtze within the province are the Shen Nong Stream (a small northern tributary, severely affected by the Three Gorges Dam project); the Qing, a major waterway of southwestern Hubei; the Huangbo near Yichang; and the Fushui in the southeast.

 

 

Thousands of lakes dot the landscape of Hubei's Jianghan Plain, giving Hubei the name of: "Province of Lakes"; the largest of these lakes are Lake Liangzi and Hong Lake. The numerous hydro dams created a number of large reservoirs, the largest of which is the Danjiangkou Reservoir on the Hanshui, on the border between Hubei and Henan.

 

Hubei has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa or Cwa under the Köppen climate classification), with four distinct seasons. Winters are cool to cold, with average temperatures of 1 to 6 °C (34 to 43 °F) in January, while summers are hot and humid, with average temperatures of 24 to 30 °C (75 to 86 °F) in July; punishing temperatures of 40 °C (104 °F) or above are famously associated with Wuhan, the provincial capital. The mountainous districts of western Hubei, in particular Shennongjia, with their cooler summers, attract numerous visitors from Wuhan and other lowland cities.

 

Besides the capital Wuhan, other important cities are JingmenShiyan, a center of automotive industry and the gateway to the Wudang MountainsYichang, the main base for the gigantic hydroelectric projects of southwestern Hubei; and Shashi.

 

 

Tourism

 

The province's most famous natural attraction (shared with the adjacent Chongqing Municipality) is the scenic area of the Three Gorges of the Yangtze. Located in the far west of the province, the gorges can be conveniently visited by one of the numerous tourist boats (or a regular passenger boats) that travel up the Yangtze from Yichang through the Three Gorges and into the neighboring Chongqingmunicipality.

 

The mountains of western Hubei, in particular in Shennongjia District, offer a welcome respite from Wuhan's and Yichang's summer heat, as well as skiing opportunities in winter. The tourist facilities in that area concentrate around Muyu in the southern part of Shennongjia, the gateway to Shennongjia National Nature Reserve (神农架国家自然保护区). Closer to the provincial capital, Wuhan, is the Mount Jiugong (Jiugongshan) national park, in Tongshan County near the border with Jiangxi.

 

A particular important site of both natural and cultural significance is Mount Wudang (Wudangshan) in the northwest of the province. Originally created early in the Ming Dynasty, its building complex has been listed by UNESCO since 1994 as a World Heritage Site.

 

Other historic attractions in Hubei include:

 

 

 

The province also has historical sites connected with China's more recent history, such as the Wuchang Uprising Memorial in Wuhan, Project 131 site (a Cultural-Revolution-era underground military command center) in Xianning, and the National Mining Park (国家矿山公园) in Huangshi.