Taiyuan, the provincial capital, is the political, economic and cultural center of Shanxi Province. It is located in the middle reaches of the Yellow River in North China and is surrounded by hills in its west, north and east. Taiyuan lies in the central area of Shanxi, the north of the Taiyuan basin, where the north-south Datong-Puzhou and Shijiazhuang-Taiyuan Railways meet. It occupies an area of 6,959 square km and has a population of 3.49 million. It has continental climate in north temperate zone, no bitterly cold days in winter and no broiling hot days in summer, with a quite temperature difference between day and night and a long frost-free period and plenty of sunshine hours in a year.
Taiyuan is an ancient city with a proud history of some 2,500 years. From ancient times, it was honored as a place of strategic importance in terms of military and political activity. Historically it had ever been called Jinyang, Jizhou, Bingzhou, Taiyuan Prefecture and Taiyuan Pre-fectural City, and in 1927 was officially granted city status. Before the Southern and Northern Dynasties (420- 589), such as Former Zhao, Later Yan, Former Yan, Former Qin and Northern Qi States, all chose Taiyuan as capital. During Sui Dynasty (581 -618), Jinyang was the third largest city after Changan and Luoyang in the whole country. Jinyang was the birthplace of Tang Dynasty (618 -907) and was designated as Bei capital. Jinyang of Bei capital, Changan of Jing capital and Luoyang of Dong capital all were called “three capitals”. During the Five Dynasties (907 -960), Taiyuan was the capital of Later Tang (923 -936), Later Jin (936-947), Later Han (947- 950) and Northern Han (951 -979). In the history of more than 2000 years, Taiyuan has always been a military fortress town in North China , enjoying the reputation of “controlling mountains and rivers, crouching on heaven’s shoulder and back” . A famous poet Guo Moruo eulogized Taiyuan that “Look Taiyuan from a distance, how grand and magnificent it is” . In Qing Dynasty (1636- 1911 ), Taiyuan had developed to a key city in commercial and handicraft industries in north China . In the period of the Republic of China (1912- 1949), Taiyuan was the municipality under the direct jurisdiction of Shanxi Province.
Taiyuan is famous all over the world for its long history, splendid culture and rich resources. As an inland city, Taiyuan is a place propitious for giving birth to great men, where the people are honest and warmhearted. Many famous historic figures came from Taiyuan such as follows: the famous general Lian Po during the Warring States Period (475 -221 B. C. ); the prime minister Di Renjie; the literator Bai Xingjian and his brother Bai Juyi – a great poet, all in the Tang Dynasty (618 -907); and poets of Wang Han, Wang Changling and Wang Zhihuan, the famous generals of Hu Yanzan and Yang Yanzhao, all in the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279); the famous calligrapher and painter Mi Shi, and the author of “Three Kingdoms” Lou Guanzhou. Taiyuan is bestowed with many interesting places and historical sites. Among these, the Jinci Ancestral Temple is the most famous and has a fine collection of magnificent ancient architecture. Moreover, the region abounds with many places of historic interest and scenic beauty. They include the Tianlong Mountain Grottoes, the Doudafu Temple in Shanglan Village, the Great Buddha on the Xishan Mountain in Jinyang City and the Twin Pagoda, as well as the Chongshan Temple, the Chunyang Palace and the ancient mosque in the downtown area.
Jin Cai means the Shanxi Cuisine. When traveling in Taiyuan, Jin Cai should not be missed. The Shanxi Cuisine has a salty flavor accompanied by a little sweet and sour. The methods of cooking include deep-frying, stir-frying, quick-frying, grilling and braising. And the traditional dishes of Jin Cai include Ba Si Shan Yao (Chinese Yam in Hot Toffee), Guo Shao Yang Rou (Braised Mutton), Fu Ru Rou (Braised Pork with Pickled Bean Curd Sauce) and Tang Cu Yu (Sweet and Sour Fish).Shanxi Noodles are definitely a local specialty and these can be prepared in several ways. Each kind cooked by a special method has a unique name and taste, such as the Fried Oats Noodle, Pulled Noodle, Mao Erduo (Cat’s Ear, for it takes the shape of a cat’s ear.), Sliced Noodle, and many more. You must taste the noodles yourself to discover how delicious they are.The Taiyuan Noodle Restaurant at the junction of Da Nan Men (South Gate) and Yingze Dajie (Yingze Avenue) comes highly recommended. As you walk into the restaurant, you will see a pair of couplets saying, ‘Delicious noodles of the world are in China, China’s delicious noodles are in Shanxi’. The words are attributed to a Japanese gourmet who tasted the delicious noodles here. The food street is a good place for tasting local delicacies. This street is situated in the center of Taiyuan City. If you would like to taste the snacks from all over the country, come to this street. This street spread all over various hotels, wine shop, dumpling halls, cool leather shop, and so on. And antique pavilions, memorial archways on this street replicate the architectural style of the Ming and Qing dynasties and so add greatly to the atmosphere of the area.
In the early founding of the People’ s Republic of China , Taiyuan was an industrial base. After more than 50 years, it has been built to possess a complete industrial system with various of industries as the pillars of energy, metallurgy, machinery and chemical, and other industries as textile, light industry, medicine, electronics, food, building materials, precise instruments, etc. The national economy in Taiyuan City are developing rapidly, coordinately and healthfully. Touring in Taiyuan, you will find the surprise.