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city, northern Hubei sheng (province), central China. It lies in the middle basin of the Han River and is situated just west of the junction of the Han with its northern tributary, the Tangbai River. It is the head of navigation for steamers and is a transshipment point for the junk traffic from the upper Han River and its tributaries. It has good highway communications, being at the crossing place of the major route from Henan province (which runs via Nanyang to Shashi and across the Yangtze River [Chang Jiang] into the southwest) with the southeast-to-northwest route via the Han River valley from Wuhan to Lanzhou in Gansu province. The area from very early times was a vitally important strategic and commercial centre. The modern municipality was formed in 1950 by combining the two cities of Fancheng (a commercial hub and river port) on the north bank of the Han River and Xiangyang (an administrative, political, and cultural centre) on the south bank