Wuhan, abbreviated to “Han”, the capital of Hubei Province, is the largest city in Central China. Located on two rivers of the Yangtze (Changjiang), the second longest river in the world, and Hanshui, it has the nick-name, “City on Rivers”.
The city’s long history dates back 3,500 years. For centuries, this city has been the center of trade and transportation in central China. The city is perhaps most famous for its pivotal role in the formation of modern China.
Wuhan is a typical garden city, having around 100 mountains and hills and as many as 200 lakes. The water area accounts for 1/4 of the city’s total land area. Wuhan is a famous historical and cultural city. Wuhan is also the cradle of Jing-Chu Culture.
After the introduction of the policies of Reform and Opening-Up, Wuhan saw many great changes, among them the rapid development of the tourist industry.
Chairman Mao Zedong’s Villa adjacent to the East Lake was built as a retreat house for Chairman Mao and other privileged ruling members of the Politburo. Mao nicknamed it “Home of the White Clouds and Yellow Cranes” where he enjoyed the quiet ambiance and great relief it offered.
The Hubei Provincial Museum is a fantastic place but it is still relatively unknown to foreigners. The museum display includes a 2000+ year old coffin, which is still in good condition. All the items in display were unearthed from one king’s tomb dating back to Spring and Autumn Periods more than 2000 years ago. The ancient Chu music performance is the highlight.
Tanhualin (昙华林), Once an area heavily colonised mostly by Christian missionaries from around Europe, Tanhualin has evolved into a very trendy street with great little cafes and pointless-but-charming, ‘gifty’ shops. There is also a small art gallery worth visiting. It is one of the only places in Wuhan with a youthful atmosphere, aided by its close proximity to Hubei Art College. The heritage architecture makes it worth a visit alone.
Yellow Crane Tower (黄鹤楼), The single largest tourist attraction in Wuhan, the tower is a modern construction built on the site of twelve previous incarnations. It is considered one of the 4 great towers in China. The tower sits atop Snake Hill near the Number One Yangtze River Bridge and gives a commanding view of the Yangtze River as well as the mouth of the Han River where it connects. Of particular interest is the enormous bronze bell located behind Yellow Crane Tower itself. The view of the city is very impressive, although often hazy by smog. Admission ~ RMB 80 which gives access to Snake Hill Park, Yellow Crane Tower and the Mao Pavilion.
Guiyuan Temple (归元寺) Built in 1658, is known as the first zen temple to be built in Hubei Province. The most famous and impressive building in the complex is the Arhats Hall, which contains 500 arhat (Buddhist saints) statues. The Buddhist Sculptures survived from the devastation of the Cultural Revolution. The statues inside are all quite different and intricately designed, so it’s well worth the time to thoroughly explore the temple. Admission ~ RMB 10.
Memorial Hall of Wuchang Uprising in 1911 Revolution, (Just below Snake Hill on the south side), on October 10, 1911 the infamous Wuchang Uprising that started the Xinhai Revolution that led to the fall of the Qing Dynasty and the election of Sun Yat-Sen as the provisional president. This was one of the biggest events that shaped modern China, making it a must-see for anyone interested in history. The Revolutionary Army was officially here, and inside the Red Chamber (the main building) they issued the edict to bring down the Qing Dynasty.
Wuhan Sex Museum (武汉性学博物馆), Qingnian Road, Hankou a gem of a museum generally unknown to many locals, and one of only two sexology museums in China (the other being in Shanghai). A small museum with a great collection of sex paraphernalia from sculptures and ancient Chinese pornography to sex furniture and a display of fetuses in jars.
Wuhan has scenery for nature lovers. The scenic East Lake area is top on all travel plans for its fascinating lake scenery, plum gardens and bamboo forest. Gui Shan (Tortoise Hill), Mo Hill and Qingchuan Pavilion are also worth of visiting.
WHAT TO BUY? Mahong Cake, Xiaogan Sesame Chips, Jingwu Duck Neck, Blunt-Snout Beam, Hongshan Caitai, Jiangling Archaistic Lacquer, Turquoise Carving, Silk Flower and Wuhan Gong.
Han Zheng Cultural Street (Han Zheng Jie) in the center of Hankou Town is a century-old street and is the largest wholesale distribution center in central China. Find inexpensive items — and are cautioned about quality. Learn to bargain.
Hanjiang Walking Street with over 200 stores and shops housed in traditional buildings sell a selection of clothes, appliances, food, commodities and other goods.
Xianggang Cultural Street, No. 209 Xianggang Road, is a large antique market. An array of stalls and stores sell traditional Chinese folk artwork, chops, curios, Chinese paintings, calligraphy, furniture, jade and other treasures from earlier days.
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