Wuhan has an old history and rich cultural traditions. According to archaeological discoveries and ancient records, more than 10,000 years ago, some people had already settled down in Wuhan. Over 3,500 years ago, the light of urban civilization began to spark in Panlongcheng, an ancient city in the northern area of Wuhan at that time. It began to prosper as a commercial town about two thousand years ago, when it was called Yingwuzhou (Parrot beach). During the Three Kingdoms Period some 1,700 years ago, Wuhan was a noted battlefield. During the Song Dynasty (960-1279), the area became one of the most prosperous commercial centers along the Yangtze River. By the end of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Hankou had become one of the four most famous cities in China. Today, Wuhan is the political, economic, and cultural center of Central China. Wuhan can be reached by air with a 2-hour flight time from Beijing, Shanghai or Guangzhou, or by train with a 4 hours journey from Guangzhou, 5 hours from Beijing, and 6 hours from Shanghai.