Wuhan, 500 miles west of Shanghai, is the capital of the Hubei province, and Hubei is central China’s westernmost province. The name ‘Wuhan’ is an amalgamation of the names of three old cities – Wuchang, Hanyang, and Handou – that joined to form Wuhan.

The area around Wuhan was a center for early Chinese industrialization. This has been the center of China’s iron and steel industry since the 19th century.

Today’s Wuhan remains a large industrial center and a major port on the Yangtse River. The population of today’s Wuhan is around 8 million.

We needed to drive another 200 miles west to board our ship for a trip up the Yangtse River, so we had lunch in Wuhan and headed west. Just outside of Wuhan are miles and miles of verdant farm country, and much of the drive was through this beautiful country.

All plowing is still done with water buffalo, and it appears that not an inch of ground is left unplanted. We were fortunate to see this area during mid-spring when young crops create a carpet of various shades of green.

We stopped in Yichang for dinner then continued west as far as Maoping – just upstream of the controversial Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtse River. Maoping is where we embarked for our trip up the Yangtse River.

Follow us up the Yangtse River or return to our China page.