Taiyuan,the capital of Shanxi Province ,called Jinyang in ancient times or Bing for short,is an ancient city with a history of 2500 years. It was initially established in 497 B.C. in the Spring and Autumn Period (770—475 B.C.),called as Jinyang city. In the early Warring States Period (475—221 B.C.),it was the capital of Zhao State . During the Qin Period(221—206 B.C.),it was one of 36 prefectures in the whole country. During the Western Han(206 B.C.— 24 A .D.),it was called Binzhou and was one of 13 states in the whole country,which was origin of Taiyuan named as Binzhou. 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 located in the middle reaches of the Yellow River in North China and is surrounded by hills in its west,north and east. It covers an area of 6998 square kilometers. The Fenhe River ,a key tributary of the Yellow River,runs through the territory of Taiyuan City with a long distance of 100 kilometers. Taiyuan lies in the valley basin of both mountains of the Taihang Mountain Ranges in east and the Luliang Mountain in west. 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.
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. There are a lot of historical relics and attractions in Taiyuan,such as the Holy Mother Hall in Jinci Temple,the Grottoes on Tianlong Mountain,the Taoist rites on Dragon Mountain,the Chongshan Monastery,Chunyang Taoist Palace,Baiyun Temple,and the emperor of the Tang Dynast (618 -970) Li Shimin's handwritten tablet inscription of" Zhenguang Baohan" (An Inscription with Preface to the Ancestral Temple of the State of Jin) in Jinci Temple,etc.
Taiyuan is one of the super cities in China . At the end of 2004,the city had a population of 3.4138 million. Now it governs one city,six districts and three counties,with 51 subdistrict offices,488 urban community resident comnfissions,54 town- ships,1030 rural resident commissions and 1794 villages.
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. In 2004,The gross domestic product of the City totaled 64.309 billion yuan,up 15.7 per cent over the last year. The added value of the secondary and the tertiary industries increased by 19.8 per cent and 12.4 per cent over the last year,respectively,higher than the average figures in the Province or in the whole country. The proportions of the three industries were 3 per cent,55 per cent and 42 per cent,respectively. Per capita GDP in the city was 18881 yuan.