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Population of Wuhan
4,000,000 people live in the urban area of Wuhan, with another 3,300,000 in the surrounding districts under its control.

Location of Wuhan
On the banks of the Yangzi River, 650 km (400 miles) west of Shanghai.

History of Wuhan
The three cities that make up Wuhan had separate histories until recently. Wuchang was founded by the 1st century AD, and was established as a regional capital under the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368).

Hankou was known since the Song dynasty (960-1279) as one of China's leading commercial centers. It was opened to foreign trade as a treaty port in 1861, becoming the center of the booming tea trade. The British, Russian, French, German, and Japanese all had Foreign Concessions here, and foreign nationals enjoyed an imported lifestyle similar to that of foreigners in Shanghai. In the 1911 revolution that overthrew the Qing dynasty, Hankou was burnt to the ground.

In 1937-38 the Guomindang set up their capital in Hankou, before being pushed out by the Japanese in a bloody battle.

At the initiative of a Qing dynasty official, the village of Hanyang became one of the first Chinese-developed factory towns in the 1890s.

After suffering from the depression of the 1930s and the Japanese occupation of 1938-45, heavy industry declined and light industry has since prevailed in Hanyang.

In 1911, the Republican Revolution broke out in the barracks at Wuchang, which led to the toppling of the last emperor of China. While helping to slowly build the Communist movement in China, Mao Zedong ran a Peasant Movement Institute in Wuchang in the late 1920s.

The Communist government conglomerated the three separate cities in 1950, and named the resulting city Wuhan. The Communists continued building Wuhan, until today it is the largest industrial and trading city in central China. It has an iron and steel works, research institutes for the study and control of the Yangzi River, and contains three new Special Economic Zones set up to attract foreign investment to central China.

At the start of the Cultural Revolution, in 1966, the official Chinese press reported that Chairman Mao Zedong (then age 73) swam across the Yangzi River at Wuhan. The story was intended to quash rumours that Mao was either gravely ill or dead.

Culture
A 2400 year-old tomb excavated at Wuhan contained many musical instruments, including a magnificent collection of bells. The musical instruments are now at the Hubei Provincial Museum in Wuhan, along with important collections of bronzes, lacquerware, jade and gold objects, calligraphy and paintings.

Language
Wuhan natives speak a dialect of Southwestern Mandarin Chinese . Because it also has a blend of southern Chinese elements, the Wuhan dialect was once promoted as the ideal basis for a standard Chinese dialect. Standard Chinese however is now based on the Beijing dialect.

Food
Local specialties include steamed meat , grilled poultry , fried sliced pork kidney , and sweet soup with lotus seed and white fungus.

Folklore
Because of its hot summer weather, Wuhan is known as one of the 'Three Furnaces' of China, along with Nanjing and Chongqing. Wuhan is by far the hottest of the Three Furnaces; the average temperature in July is 37.2°C, and the maximum often exceeds 40°C.

The Lute Platform in Hanyang was where the legendary musician Yu Boya is said to have played. Yu Boya played for the last time over the grave of his friend Zhong Ziqi, then smashed his lute because the only person able to appreciate his music was dead.

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