the Triple City of Wuhan

In the center of China, equidistant from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou (Canton) and Chongqing (Chungking), is the city of Wuhan. Sitting at the confluence of the Changjiang (Yangtze) and Hanshui rivers, this metropolis of 3.8 million is in fact the aggregate of three towns: Wuchang, Hankou and Hanyang, Hankou and Hanyang to the west of the Changiiang are connected by smaller bridges over the Hanshui. They are, in turn, linked to Wuchang on the east bank of the Changjiang Bridge.

Wuhan is a bridge atar in China’s revolutionary past. In October of 1911, the rebellion led by Dr. Sun yat-sen began in Wuchang. The battle here lasted several weeks and Hankou almost completely destroyed by fire. The revolution spread to the rest of the country and resulted in the overthrow of the Qing dynasty. The people of Wuhan continued throughout to take an active role.

Today Wuhan i s an important manufacturing center of home of one of the nation’s major iron and steel producers, The Wuhan Iron and Steel Co. Other factories here produce farm machinery, automobiles, ships, machine tools and electric motors and appliances. Even with its modern industrial activity Wuhan remains a city of scenic beauty. There are small and more than a dozen parks scattered in and about the city. Dong Hu(East Lake)is by far the most lovely. Thirty-three square kilometers in size, it is bordered by parks and mountains and hills to the southeast and northwest .Along the shore its many caves and inlets, stand over seventy pavilions, towers and gazebos. The Poem Reciting Pavilion on the northeast shore is dedicated to the memory of the great patriotic poet Qu Yuan who lived 2300 years ago. Stand at the top of the Tower of the Infinite Sky and the lake becomes a mirror reflecting the sun and sky. Flowers are everywhere. Peach and plum blossom and the pale green of the willow in spring; lotus flowers fill the air with their subtle scent in summer. Orchids and osman thus emerge in autumn and pink plum and green bamboo sustain the winter.

Wuhan is the “City of the White Clouds and Yellow Crane”. Legend has it that at one time there was a wine shop located at the foot of Sheshan (Snake Hill). An immortal frequented the shop and was always warmly received by the proprietor. One day, when the immortal visited the shop, he drank several cups of wine and then, with a piece of orange peel, drew a yellow crane on the wall. With this expression of his appreciation for the proprietor’s hospitality he left the shop and city. The crane remained on the wall only to fly down occasionally to dance for the customers. This entertainment soon attached a large audience and business at the shop,now known as the Yellow Crane Tower, thrived. Many years later the im mortal returned to Wuhan and came again to the shop at Sheshan. on a Jade flute he played a melody. The yellow crane instantly came down from the wall, spread its wings to provide a scat for the immortal and together they flew away into the sky and disappeared beyond the white clouds. Records show the Yellow Crane Tower to have been a wooden structure built at least l,600 years ago. Destroyed many times by fire, it was rebuilt off each occasion until 1884 when it was for the last time reduced to ashes. The local government has decide now to rebuild the Yellow Crane Tower according to pictures made in the Yuan and Ming dynasties and a model from the Qing.

Nearly four hundred years ago, at the juncture of the Ming and Qing dynasties, the Temple of Original Purty was erected in Wuhan. Exquisitely designed, the Temple contains a valuable collection of Buddhist scriptures and works of both Chinese and foreign literature. Most precious of the collection is the Longcang Scriptures;over 54 thousand volumes stored in 48 cabinets. It is one of the few complete Buddhist sutras found in China. On display in the halls of the Temple are jade and wood carvings and steles, some of which are more than a thousand years old. In the Arhat Hall of the Temple there are five hundred statues of the disciples of Buddha. These Arhats were created by two peasant artists working over a nine-year-period some 120 years ago. The Arhats people the Hall, sitting, standing, and reclining, displaying moods of anger, sadness and delight.