Central China Travel Guide
Hunan & Hubei
the temples on Wudang Shan
Hunan and Hubei are central China’s westernmost provinces. Hubei is dominated by the mighty Yangzi River, and its capital Wuhan is a great industrial city on the river. The mountainous Three Gorges in western Hubei near Yichang is the site of the world’s largest dam, which was completed in 2007. The scenic Shennongjia Forest Reserve, home of the legendary Wild Man, and Wudang Shan, known for its martial arts school, are spectacular sights definitely worth visiting, although remote and difficult to access.
Hunan’s fertile farmlands lured millions of migrants during the political upheavals in North China between the 8th and 11th centuries. An important grain producer during the Ming and Qing dynasties, by the 19th century the population had outgrown the land, and the ensuing unrest was exploited by the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Rebellion. The region’s poverty also had a great impact on China’s history in the 20th century. As the birthplace of Mao Zedong, Hunan’s revolutionary credentials are still one of its principal attractions, both in Changsha, the capital, and in Mao’s birthplace at Shao Shan. Other popular sights include Dongting Hu, China’s second-largest lake, in the northeast, the temples at scenic Heng Shan in the south, and the wonderful mountain scenery of Wulingyuan in the northwest.
Towns & Cities
Temples & Holy Mountains
Nature Reserves & Areas of Natural Beauty