Wuhan (simplified Chinese: 武汉; traditional Chinese: 武漢; pinyin: Wǔhàn [wùxân]) is the capital of Hubei province, People's Republic of China, and is the most populous city in Central China. It lies in the eastern Jianghan Plain at the intersection of the middle reaches of the Yangtze and Han rivers. Arising out of the conglomeration of three cities, Wuchang, Hankou, and Hanyang, Wuhan is known as "the nine provinces' leading thoroughfare"; it is a major transportation hub, with dozens of railways, roads and expressways passing through the city. Because of its key role in domestic transportation, Wuhan was sometimes referred to as the "Chicago of China". It is recognized as the political, economic, financial, cultural, educational and transportation center of central China.