Wuhan is the capital of Hubei province, China, and is the most populous city in Central China. It lies in the eastern Jianghan Plain at the intersection of the middle reaches of the Yangtze and Han rivers. Arising out of the conglomeration of three cities, Wuchang, Hankou, and Hanyang, Wuhan is known as "Jiusheng Tongqu (the nine provinces' leading thoroughfare)"; it is a major transportation hub, with dozens of railways, roads and expressways passing through the city and connecting to other major cities. Because of its key role in domestic transportation, Wuhan was sometimes referred to as "the Chicago of China" by foreign sources.
Wuhan is in east-central Hubei, at latitude 29° 58'–31° 22' N and longitude 113° 41'–115° 05' E, east of the Jianghan Plain, and is at the confluence of the Hanshui and Yangtze Rivers along the middle reaches of the latter.
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 cities occurred in 1927 and Wuhan was thereby established. The 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 terrain—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 area of 8,494.41 square kilometres (3,279.71 sq mi), most of which is plain and decorated with hills and a great number of lakes and pools.
Wuhan's climate is humid subtropical with abundant rainfall and four distinctive seasons. Wuhan is known for its oppressively humid summers, when dewpoints can often reach 26 °C (79 °F) or more. Because of its hot summer weather, Wuhan is commonly known as one of the Four Furnaces of China, along with Nanjing，Nanchang and Chongqing. Spring and autumn are generally mild, while winter is cool with occasional snow. The monthly 24-hour average temperature ranges from 4.0 °C (39.2 °F) in January to 29.1 °C (84.4 °F) in July. Annual precipitation totals 1,315 millimetres (51.8 in), mainly from May to July; the annual mean temperature is 17.13 °C (62.8 °F), the frost-free period lasts 211 to 272 days. With monthly possible sunshine percentage ranging from 31 percent in March to 59 percent in August, the city proper receives 1,865 hours of bright sunshine annually.
Wuhan has attracted foreign investment from over 80 countries, with 5,973 foreign-invested enterprises established in the city with a total capital injection of $22.45 billion USD. Among these, about 50 French companies have operations in the city, representing over one third of French investment in China, and the highest level of French investment in any Chinese city. The municipal government offers various preferential policies to encourage foreign investment, including tax incentives, discounted loan interest rates and government subsidies.
Wuhan is an important center for economy, trade, finance, transportation, information technology, and education in China. Its major industries include optic-electronic, automobile manufacturing, iron and steel manufacturing, new pharmaceutical sector, biology engineering, new materials industry and environmental protection.
Wuhan is one of the most competitive forces for domestic trade in China, rivaling the first tier cities of Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou in its volume of retail.
There are 35 higher educational institutions which makes it a leading educational hub for China. Recognized institutions include the well-known Wuhan University, and Huazhong University of Science and Technology.
Wuhan has seven bridges and one tunnel across the Yangtze River. The Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge, also called the First Bridge, 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. The Second Bridge, a cable-stayed bridge, built of pre-stressed concrete, has a central span of 400 metres (1,300 feet); it is 4,678 metres (15,348 feet) in length (including 1,877 metres (6,158 feet) of the main bridge) and 26.5 to 33.5 metres (86.9 to 109.9 feet) in width. The Third Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge was completed in September 2000. Located 8.6 kilometres (5.3 miles) 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 metres (11,765 feet) long and 26.5 metres (86.9 feet) 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.
Presently, the city of Wuhan is served by three major railway stations: the Hankou Railway Station in Hankou, the Wuchang Railway Station in Wuchang, and the Wuhan Railway Station, located in a newly developed area east of the East Lake (Hongshan District). As the stations are many miles apart, it is important for passengers to be aware of the particular station(s) used by a particular train.
Opened in April 1995, Wuhan Tianhe International Airport is one of the busiest airports in central China and it is located 26 kilometres (16 mi) 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 was completed in March 2008, having been started in February 2005 with an investment of CNY 3.372 billion. International flights to neighboring Asian countries have also been enhanced, including direct flights to Tokyo and Nagoya, Japan.
Wuchang has the largest lake within a city in China, the East Lake, as well as the South Lake. The east lake in Wuhan is 6 times the size of the west lake in Hangzhou.
The Hubei Provincial Museum: With over 200,000 valued artifacts, this is one of the leading museums in China. Especially the artefacts from the tomb of Marquis Yi (Zenghouyi), who lived in the 5th century B.C., is a world unique treasure.
Jiqing Street holds many roadside restaurants and street performers during the evening, and is the site of a Live Show with stories of events on this street by contemporary writer Chi Li.
The Lute Platform in Hanyang was where the legendary musician Yu Boya is said to have played. This is the birthplace of the renowned legend of seeking a soul mate through "high mountains and flowing water".
Chu River and Han Street, a popular shopping district located in Wuchang with many tourist attractions, including Han Show theater, Madame Tussauds, and Movie Culture Park, etc. This project was initiated as a water connecting channel between East Lake and Shahu Lake.