Hubei, China

Position of Hubei in China
ProvinceHú běi 'lake north'
Short name È
Population57.753 million (4.09%) [10th] comparison table
Area186,000 km2 [71,815 mile2] (1.94%) [14th]
GDP75,223 (17.37%) [11th]
NeighborsHenan Anhui Jiangxi Hunan Chongqing Shaanxi
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Beijing Tianjin Shanghai Hong Kong Xinjiang Tibet Qinghai Gansu Inner Mongolia Heilongjiang Jilin Liaoning Yunnan Sichuan Guangxi Hainan Taiwan Guangdong Guizhou Chongqing Ningxia Shandong Fujian Zhejiang Shaanxi Shanxi Hebei Henan Hunan Hubei Jiangxi Anhui Jiangsu
Hubei, gorge, Yangzi River
Three gorges dam on Yangzi river

Hubei is a central Chinese province; rather like neighboring Henan it marks the transition from mountains in the West to low fertile coastal plain in the East. The name Hubei comes from its location north of Dongting Lake. In early days the province was part of the larger 广 Hú guǎng province before it was split from Hunan in 1664. It is dominated by the Yangzi River (or Chang Jiang) that forms many low lying lakes and reservoirs (the largest number in China) as well as the world famous Three Gorges (now harnessed by the huge Sanxia Daba dam ). Qutang, Wuxia and Xiling are the names of the gorges that are spread out over 120 miles [193 kms] in order west to east (but the first two are in neighboring Chongqing province). Many of the sites along the river have been drowned by the rise in water level associated with the Three Gorges dam. Wuxia gorge is marked by towering mountains on either side of the river making it seem a chasm. The ancient ‘hanging coffins’ of the Bo people can still be seen along the river and Su Shi, the great Song poet wrote eloquently about the gorges. The gorges took a heavy toll in people and boats over the centuries; so it is welcome that this big hazard has now been removed. Hubei was the heart of the Chu kingdom during the Warring States period of Chinese history. Qu Yuan, the earliest acclaimed Chinese poet lived in Hubei at that time.

Hubei, Yangzi River, river
Overlooking Fancheng District from Xiangcheng District on the other side of the Han River, which is a tributary of the Yangtze River. October 2011.
Image by Zihanzor available under a Creative Commons license


Wuhan is the largest city in Hubei, it was formed in 1926 by combining three neighboring cities Hankou, Wuchang and Hanyang together. Wuhan stands at the confluence with another significant Chinese river the ‘Han’ hàn shuǐ, it also has the main railway line from Beijing to Guangzhou running through the city. Wuchang was one time capital of the state of Wu in the Zhou dynasty and stands on the southern bank of the river. Hankou became a major river port on the Yangzi when, after the first Opium War, trade opened to foreign powers (including the British, French, German, Russian and Japanese). The Yangzi is so broad and deep that large ocean going ships could sail up the river and dock at the city. Some buildings near Hankou city center show this foreign influence. It used to be known as the ‘Street of a thousand shops’.

Qu Yuan, Warring States, gateway, Hubei
Temple of poet and minister Qu Yuan at Yichang, Hubei Province.
Wuhan, crowd
Wuhan street scene, 2018

The first case of the deadly Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was reported in Wuhan on the last day of 2019. It spread quickly within the city and the rest of Hubei province . Strict isolation rules however quickly stopped its rapid spread to the rest of the country.

Town of Wuhan on the Bank of the Yangzi River, with View of the Huanghe Tower, Buildings, and Boats. Hubei Province, China, 1874. Image by Boiarskii, Adolf-Nikolay Erazmovich available under a Creative Commons License

The Wuhan area suffered severe damage in the last century: in 1911 with the fall of the Qing and later in 1923 and then 1937 with the Japanese occupation. The Wuchang Uprising of 1911 led by Sun Yatsen marked the start of the revolution that created the Republic of China and it is commemorated there. It was in the late 1930s the defacto capital of unoccupied China. The Changjiang Daqiao was the first bridge over the lower Yangzi built 1955-57 and opened up the area to development. A second bridge was completed in 1995 and there is now also a tunnel. It was at Wuhan that Mao Zedong made his famous swim of the Yangzi in 1956 and again in 1966. Since this time the city has become heavily industrialized. The provincial museum at Wuhan is one of the best in China with many exhibits from the Warring States and Three Kingdoms periods. Wuhan’s Fengdu Ghost City is a more unusual tourist attraction.

Wudang, daoism, Hubei
Wudang Palace, Hubei

Places to visit in Hubei

Donghu (East Lake) is an attractive park east of the center of Wuhan; it has over 70 pavilions, towers and gardens. On the north east shore is a pavilion dedicated to the memory of the poet Qu Yuan. Near the bridge in Wuchang is the Huanghelou Yellow Crane Tower standing on the She Shang hill dating back over 1,700 years. A story relates that an immortal came down and drank wine at a shop and painted a yellow crane with orange peel. The lifelike image attracted many visitors until sometime later the immortal returned to fly off on the crane. The present tower has recently been rebuilt several times on the original site, the last time in 1884. The Buddhist Guiyuansi ‘Temple of Original Purity ’ has over 54 thousand volumes of ancient sacred texts and hundreds of images of ‘arhats’ - Buddhist saints. The ancient Gǔ qín tái 'Guqin Platform' in Hanyang district commemorates the friendship of the musician Yu Boya and Zhong Zhiqi back in the Warring States period. Ferries run upstream on the Yangzi via the ancient city of Yichang through the gorges to Chongqing.

Shengnongjia is a notable National Forest in the mountainous north-west. The reserve has many rare plants, trees and animals (including the Golden Monkey, Golden Pheasant and Giant Salamander). The Wudang mountains are famous for Daoist temples a few dating back as far as the Tang dynasty scattered among the mountains and gave rise to the Wudangquan /Taijiquan (Taichi) martial art tradition. Some of the epic film ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon ’ was filmed here. It is set in a botanically rich area.

In the north-east is the Dabie Shan range of mountains that form part of the division of northern and southern China. These mountains are famous as the birthplace of the founder of the Ming dynasty, Zhu Yuanzhang. It is popular when azaleas are in bloom as the mountains are covered with their bright blooms.

Wuhan, pavilion, Hubei, city
Wuhan city view

Hubei Geography

Hubei has hot, humid summers and cool, dry winters. Wuhan is one of the ‘three furnaces’ of China in summer with temperatures over 104 ° F [40 ° C] combined with high humidity. Agriculturally it lies on the dividing line of wheat growing in the north to rice growing in the south but it also grows a great many other crops including bamboo, Yichang black tea, Enshi green tea and sesame seeds. Industry is centered on the Wuhan area. The province produces some oil to add to China’s sources of energy.

university, Wuhan, Hubei
Library building of Wuhan University, Hubei


Yichang Sanxia Airport 宜昌三峡机场 YIH IATA / ZHYC ICAO
The airport has 1 terminal and is located 15.5 miles (25.0 kms) from Yichang. Live Flight information , Airport information , rank in China 61
See map of location Yichang Sanxia Airport
Wuhan Tianhe International Airport 武汉天河国际机场 WUH IATA / ZHHH ICAO
The airport has 3 terminals and is located 16.2 miles (26.0 kms) from Wuhan. Live Flight information , Airport information , rank in China 15
International Links to :Korea
See map of location Wuhan Tianhe International Airport


Wuhan University

The leading university in Hubei province is Wuhan University. It has roots as an institution dating back to 1893 before becoming a University in 1928. It covers most subjects in the arts and sciences.. Undergraduates: 34133, Postgraduates: 13918, International students: 1477, GP World ranking 273

Huazhong University of Science and Technology

Huazhong is the main University in Hubei province and specializes on Science and Technology. In 1953 it began as an engineering institute before merging with other Wuhan institutions in 2000 to become a university.. Undergraduates: 36000, Postgraduates: 20040, International students: 560, GP World ranking 445
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Hubei Climate

Climate Chart for Hubei
Climate Key
Major CitiesPopulation
Huangshi 688,090
Jingmen 167,750
Jingzhou 177,878
Qianjiang 179,079
Shashi 498,780
Shiyan 3,460,000
Suizhou 323,945
Tianmen 382,362
Wuhan 9,785,388
Xiangyang襄樊 2,199,689
Xiantao 239,406
Yichang 476,725

City populations for 2012, Province statistics National Bureau of Statistics 2014

See also