Hubei is a central province of the People's Republic of China. Its abbreviation is ¶õ, an ancient name associated with the eastern part of the province since the Qin Dynasty. The name Hubei means "north of the lake", referring to Hubei's position north of Lake Dongting. The capital of Hubei is Wuhan.

Hubei borders Henan to the north, Anhui to the east, Jiangxi to the southeast, Hunan to the south, Chongqing to the west, and Shaanxi to the northwest. The high-profile Three Gorges Dam is located in Yichang, in western Hubei.

A popular unofficial name for Hubei is Chu, after the powerful state of Chu that existed here during the Eastern Zhou Dynasty.

Hubei has a subtropical climate with distinct seasons. Hubei has average temperatures of 1 - 6 ¡ãC in winter and of 24 - 30 ¡ãC in summer; punishing temperatures of 40 ¡ãC or above are famously associated with Wuhan, the provincial capital.

Types of traditional Chinese opera popular in Hubei include Hanju and Chuju.

The Shennongjia area is the alleged home of the Yeren, a wild undiscovered hominid that lives in the forested hills.

The people of Hubei are given the uncomplimentary nickname "Nine Headed Birds" by other Chinese, from a mythological creature said to be very aggressive and hard to kill. "In the sky live nine-headed birds. On the earth live Hubei people."

Wuhan is one of the major culture centers in China.

Hubei is home to the ancient state of Chu, a local state during the Eastern Zhou Dynasty that developed its own unique culture. Chu culture mixed with other influences, ancient and modern, endows Hubei richly with tourist resources. Famous attractions include:

In 1994, the ancient building complex of the Wudang Mountains was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

The province also has historical sites connected with China's more recent history, such as the Wuchang Uprising Memorial in Wuhan, Project 131 site (a Cultural-Revolution-era underground military command center) in Xianning, and the National Mining Park) in Huangshi.

Numerous tourist boats (as well as regular passenger boats) travel up the Yangtze from Yichang through the Three Gorges area and into the neighboring Chongqing municipality.

The mountains of western Hubei, in particular in Shennongjia District, offer a welcome respite from Wuhan's and Yichang's summer heat. The tourist facilities in that area concentrate around Muyu in the southern part of Shennongjia, the gateway to Shennongjia National Nature Reserve.