"The most beautiful hills and lake fronts in Wuhan are all occupied by the universities", one Wuhan taxi driver once told me. Fortunately, the campuses of the universities in Wuhan are open to the public. Wuhan has the third most universities among all the cities in China, just behind Beijing and Shanghai, and it had a long history of being a center of education. Even if you are not a student, you can escape the hustle and bustle of this city under-construction by walking into these green, serene and even poetic campuses; read a book in one of the historical buildings; take a jog through patches of green; or just sit by a lotus pond and immerse yourself in reflection. Here are three can't-miss campuses that offer the unique combination of history, landscape, architecture and intellectual resources.
1) Wuhan University 武汉大学 View In Map
Wuhan University is widely recognized as one of the top ten universities in China and it is one of the oldest universities in China, founded in 1913. The 196 hectare campus is located right on Luojia Hill, by the side of the East Lake.
The campus is peppered with laurel trees, plum trees, berry trees, maples and many other kinds of plants. The plants here are no less diverse or precious than any botanic garden; in actual fact there are more than 800 kinds of plants, among them 17 are acknowledged rare species. But what makes Wuhan University a national tourist attraction is the sakura, the Japanese cherry blossom. Every spring when the cherry trees are in full blossom, millions of tourists will come to Wuhan specifically to see the cherry blossoms here.
This university also takes pride in its historical buildings from the 1930s, such as the Wuhan University Library. These buildings are masterpieces of architecture that gracefully blend traditional Chinese style with Western elements. Many of these buildings from the 1930s are certified by the State Council as "national historical treasures"; no wonder this place is often named "the most beautiful university campus in China".
2) Central China Normal University 华中师范大学 View In Map
Founded in 1924，the Central China Normal University has a history as glorious as Wuhan University. Its campus is seated on the Guizi Hill(桂子山) and occupies a scenic area of 133 hectares. It is also blessed with a large variety of trees and flowers. The lanes in the north part of the campus are covered with camphor trees, peach trees and plum trees. At the south gate of the campus, there is a small forest of metasequoia. In the middle of the campus, you will find attractions like the Peony Garden, the Garden of Plum Blossom, and the Orchid Garden.
Guizi Hill is particularly famous for the sweet-scented osmanthus trees that spread all over the whole hill. September is the best month to come and enjoy the view and the fragrance of these trees.
The Boya Square(博雅广场) is a landmark of this campus; the lawn and wooden benches here are a popular choice for group studying among students, romantic encounters (!), relaxed reading or for a nice afternoon nap.
Add: 152 Luoyu Road, Wuhan
Getting there: Take bus 66, 518, 593, 536, 703 or 715 to the Guangbutun station (广埠屯); or take bus 601, 724 to the Hu Quan station (虎泉)
3) Zhongnan University of Economics and Law 中南财经政法大学View In Map
ZUEL has two campuses, one in the center of the city, the other by the South Lake. The South Lake campus is the one you shouldn't miss. A branch of the South Lake runs across the campus, which is called the East Xiao Lake. An elegant white bridge of traditional Chinese style hangs above the lake like a marble rainbow, which is called the Bridge of Nine Arches. The South Xiao Lake also boasts a lotus pond that looks particularly pretty in the summer when it is filled with floating blossoms. But the lakefront office building, Wenbo Tower, seems unnecessarily luxurious and lacks character. It is buildings like this that evoke discussion over whether Chinese universities are spending the too much government funding on materialistic things rather than intellectual resources.
One of the highlights of ZULE is the Museum of Currency and Finance. This museum is located on the second floor of the Yifu Library(逸夫图书馆), and it boasts one of the largest collections of ancient coins, ancient paper currencies, securities, and bronze artifacts among all the universities in China.
Add: No.1 South Nanhu Road, Wuhan 430073
Getting there: Bus 590 or 538 to the Cha Shanliu station (茶山刘)
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Keywords: University campus Wuhan Wuhan university campus guide top Chinese University campus hills and lakes in Hubei
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