Vast hordes of travellers find themselves drifting into Húběi (湖北) through the magnificent Three Gorges, the precipitous geological marvel that begins in neighbouring Chóngqìng and concludes here. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime trip which perfectly introduces Húběi’s dramatic natural beauty.
Sliced by rivers (including, of course, the mighty Yangzi) and dappled with lakes, Húběi is largely lush and fertile, but its western regions are dominated by stunning mountain scenery. National parks such as Shénnóngjià are jaw-droppingly spectacular, while the sacred peaks of Wǔdāng Shān add pinches of Taoist mysticism to a sublime landscape.
Húběi’s central location ensured it played a key role in Chinese history, with plenty of evidence around the ancient city of Jīngzhōu of the great Chu kingdom that ruled this part of China more than 2000 years ago. China’s modern history, meanwhile, is woven into the fabric of Wǔhàn, Húběi’s vast, battle-scarred capital city.