Area 156,600 square km
Population 35.93 million (2011)
Capital City Taiyuan

Shanxi Geography

Situated west of Mt. Taihang, in the eastern part of the loess plateau and the middle reaches of the Huanghe River (Yellow River) , Shanxi Province covers an area of over 150,000 square kilometres and has a population of 33.35 million  (2006) composed of Han, Hui, Mongolian, Manchu and other nationalities. Taiyuan is the provincial capital.

Shanxi Climate

Shanxi Province is a highland with mountains in the east and south. Shanxi's temperature is lower than that of the same latitude in the North China Plain. It has severe winter and cool summer. The average temperature of the coldest month January is -12°C (10.4 °F) to -2°C (28.4 °F) from the north to the south and the average temperature of the hottest month July is 22°C (71.6 °F) to 27°C (80.6 °F) from the north to the south. The annual precipitation is between 350mm and 700 mm, most of which falls in summer.

Brief History of Shanxi

Shanxi was Jinyang in ancient times. During the Spring and Autumn Period it was the Kingdom of Jin (770 B.C.-476 B.C.), the Qin Dynasty (221 B.C.-207 B.C.), Taiyuan Prefecture, in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Hedong Dao (Dao was equivalent to today's province). It was in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) that the place became to be known as Shanxin Province. Shanxin is one of the cradles of Chinese civilization. As the legend goes, kings Yao, Shun and Yu had their capitals in southern Shanxi. Ruins of the middle period excavated in Dingcun Village in southern Shanxin show that what has come to be know as "Dingcun Man" lived there hundreds of thousands of years ago. Now Shanxi has become one of the major heavy industrial bases and the biggest coal mining area in China.

Shanxi Local Cuisine

Qingheyuan Restaurant of Taiyuan is known for its Tounao which is instant cooked mutton in Mongolian hot pot and the whole sheep meal.

Tounao is fat mutton, lotus roots and yam cooked with rice wine, the roots of membranous milk vetch (Astragalus membranceus). It is a popular food with a tonic effect. Shanxi is also praised for its rich variety of wheaten food which is made even more delicious when eatenwith famous vinegar of Shanxi.

There are altogether about 100 varieties of wheaten food prepared in six different ways: boiled, steamed, stuffed, fried, baked and deep-fired. The common ones are hand drawn noodles, fettuccine Shanxi style, "cat's ears" etc. Marinated beef from Pingyao is tender, soft, delicious and easy to keep.

Shanxi Local Products

Shanxi Province produces a great variety of fruits. The main ones are pears and dates. The best pears are produced in Yuangping. Dates from Jihan have small cores, thick pulp and rich sugar content. Qingxu has a long history in grape-growing and is noted for the variety of grape it produces. Other fruits include smooth-shelled walnuts of Fenyang, persimmons of Jishan and wild jujubes of Jiaocheng. Chinese medicinal herbs grown in this province include Dangshen ,the roots of membranous milk vetch ( Astragalus membranaceus) and licorice roots. Shanxi Province produces the famous Guilingji and Dingkun pellet, patent Chinese medicine. The aged vinegar of Qingxu County is one of the famous vinegars in China.

Shanxi Places of Interests and Tourist Attractions

In Shanxin Province one can get a glimpse of Chinese gardening, architecture, sculpture, carving and other arts. The statues of the maids of the Song Dynasty (960-1280) in Jinci Temple of Taiyaun are considered masterpieces of ancient Chinese sculptures. These statues together with the ageless cypresses of the Zhou Dynasty (1112 B.C - 221 B.C.) and gurgling Nanlao Spring (Spring-for-ever-young), are regarded as the three most enchanting scenes of Jinci Temple.

In Taiyuan there are other tourist attractions such as Twin Pagodas Monastery, Chongshan (Worshipping Goodness) Monastery, grottoes of Mt. Tianlong (Celestial Dragon), Xuankong Monastery, Shuanglin Monastery and the provincial museum.

Yungang Grottoes of Datong are one of the three treasure troves of art in China. Fifty-three grottoes remain in which there are 51,000 statues. The biggest is 17 meters high and the smallest, a few centimeters. The stone images of these grottoes are impressive, lively and fascinating. Yungang Grottoes have even won world-wide fame. Other scenic spots and places of historical interest in Datong include Huayan Temple, Shanhua Monastery, the Nine-dragon Screen, Xuankong Monastery and the wooden tower of Yingxian County.

Pingyao, an ancient city of Shanxi province, was the financial center of China from the 17th to 19th century. Although today it is only a tiny spot on the map, almost beyond recognition, Pingyao boasts a brilliant past with rich culture deposits. Even now, the shops, booths and other buildings bearing the authentic styles of the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties are still well-preserved.