Hefei (/ˈhəˈfeɪ/, Chinese: 合肥) is the capital and largest city of Anhui Province in China.A prefecture-level city, it is the political, economic, and cultural center of Anhui. Located in the central portion of the province, it borders Huainan to the north, Chuzhou to the northeast, Wuhu to the southeast, Tongling to the south, Anqing to the southwest and Lu'an to the west.
Hefei has an area of 11,434.25 km2 (4,414.79 sq mi) and, at the 2016 sampling survey, a population of 7,869,000 inhabitants, 5,670,000 of whom are urban.
From the 8th to the 6th century BC, Hefei was the site of many small states, later a part of the Chu kingdom. Many archaeological finds dating from this period have been made. The name 'Hefei' was first given to the county set up in the area under the Han dynasty in the 2nd century BC.
In the 3rd century AD, the famous Three Kingdoms battle, Battle of Xiaoyao Ford, was fought at what is currently Xiaoyao Ford (逍遙津) in Hefei. General Zhang Liao of the Kingdom of Wei commanding 800 picked cavalry defeated the 200,000-man army of the Kingdom of Wu. Several decades of warring in Hefei between Wu and Wei followed this battle.
During the 4th to the 6th century AD, this crucial border region between northern and southern states was much fought over; its name and administrative status were consequently often changed. During the Sui (581–618) and Tang (618–907) periods, it became the seat of Lu prefecture—a title it kept until the 15th century, when it became a superior prefecture named Luzhou.
The present city dates from the Song dynasty (960–1126), the earlier Hefei having been some distance farther north. In the 10th year of Xining (熙宁十年,1077 AD), the taxes collected from the Luchow Prefecture were 50315 Guan, approximately 25 million today's Chinese Yuan, with a ranking of the amount of taxes was the 11th(following Kaifeng, Hangzhou, Qinzhou, Chuzhou, Chengdu, Zizhou, Xingyuan, Mianzhou, Zhenzhou, Suzhou) among all the prefectures of Song Dynasty. During the 10th century, it was for a while the capital of the independent Wu kingdom (902–938) and was an important center of the Southern Tang state (937–975).
After 1127 it became a center of the defenses of the Southern Song dynasty (1126–1279) against the Jin (Jurchen) invaders in the Jin–Song wars, as well as a flourishing center of trade between the two states. When the Chinese Republic was founded in 1911, the superior prefecture was abolished, and the city took the name of Hefei. The city was known as Luchow or Liu-tcheou (庐州, p Luzhou) during the Ming and Qing dynasties (after the 14th century to the 19th century). Hefei was the temporary capital for Anhui from 1853 to 1862. It was renamed as Hefei County in 1912. Following the Chinese victory in the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1945, Hefei was made the capital of Anhui.
Before World War II, Hefei remained essentially an administrative center and the regional market for the fertile plain to the south. It was a collecting center for grain, beans, cotton, and hemp, as well as a center for handicraft industries manufacturing cloth, leather, bamboo goods, and ironware.
The construction in 1912 of the Tianjin–Pukou railway, farther east, for a while made Hefei a provincial backwater, and much of its importance passed to Bengbu. In 1932–36, however, a Chinese company built a railway linking Hefei with Yuxikou (on the Yangtze opposite Wuhu) to the southeast and with the Huai River at Huainan to the north. While this railway was built primarily to exploit the rich coalfield in northern Anhui, it also did much to revive the economy of the Hefei area by taking much of its produce to Wuhu and Nanjing.
Although Hefei was a quiet market town of only about 30,000 in the mid-1930s, its population grew more than tenfold in the following 20 years. The city's administrative role was strengthened by the transfer of the provincial government from Anqing in 1949, but much of its new growth derived from its development as an industrial city. A cotton mill was opened in 1958, and a thermal generating plant, using coal from Huainan, was established in the early 1950s. It also became the seat of an industry producing industrial chemicals and chemical fertilizers. In the late 1950s an iron and steel complex was built. In addition to a machine-tool works and engineering and agricultural machinery factories, the city has developed an aluminum industry and a variety of light industries. There are several universities based in the city.
Hefei is located 130 kilometres (81 mi) west of Nanjing in south-central Anhui. Chao Lake, a lake 15 km (9 mi) southeast of the city, is one of the largest fresh water lakes nationally. Though, the lake has unfortunately been polluted with nitrogen and phosphorus in recent decades, situation is becoming better because of the effort of both the government and the people.
Hefei features a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa) with four distinct seasons. Hefei's annual average temperature is 16.18 °C (61.1 °F). Its annual precipitation is just slightly over 1,000 millimetres (39 in), being heavier from May through August. Winters are damp and cold, with January lows dipping just below freezing and January averaging 2.8 °C (37.0 °F). The city sees irregular snowfalls that rarely turn significant. Springs are generally relatively pleasant if somewhat erratic. Summers here are oppressively hot and humid, with a July average of 28.3 °C (82.9 °F). In the months of June, July, August, and often September, daily temperatures can reach or surpass 37 °C (99 °F) with high humidity levels being the norm. Autumn in Hefei sees a gradual cooling and drying. With monthly percent possible sunshine ranging from 35 percent in March to 50 percent in August, the city receives 1,868 hours of bright sunshine annually. Extremes since 1951 have ranged from −20.6 °C (−5 °F) on 6 January 1955 to 41.1 °C (106 °F) on 27 July 2017.