Taiyuan is the capital city of Shanxi Province. Located in the center of the province, it is also the political, economic and cultural center of Shanxi.
Taiyuan is one of the great industrial cities of China and lies on the Fen River in the north of its fertile upper basin. It commands the north-south route through Shanxi, as well as important natural lines of communication through the mountains to Hebei province in the east and (via Fenyang) to northern Shaanxi province in the west.
Satellite image of TaiyuanThe GDP was 51.559 billion yuan in 2003. In 2006, Taiyuan's nominal GDP was 101.338 billion yuan, a growth of 14.7% from the previous year. Taiyuan's primary, secondary, and tertiary industries were worth 2 billion yuan, 43.07 billion yuan, and 44.48 billion yuan respectively. Taiyuan is the largest coal mining center in China. It also houses several large corporations in Taiyuan, such as the Taiyuan Iron and Steel Company (TISCO) which is the largest stainless steel producing plant in Asia. Also, the Shanxi Heavy Machinery Factory and Fenxi Machinery Factory are major manufacturers for the People's Liberation Army and Navy, producing submarine missiles for them. The largest local bank of Taiyuan is ICBC( Industrial and Commercial Bank of China).
Taiyuan benefits from convenient public transport systems as the city is the provincial transportation hub. Accommodation facilities have become more and more advanced over recent years and range from 5-star hotels to a selection of comfortable guest houses.
The Fen River flows across the city from north to south, dividing the city into two parts: Qiaoxi (West of the Bridge) and Qiaodong (East of the Bridge). As of 2007, there are five bridges across the Fen River within the city limit: the Shengli Bridge (1970), the Yifen Bridge (1990), the Yingze Bridge (1954), the Nanneihuan Bridge (1988), and the Changfeng Bridge(2001). About ten kilometers to the north of the Shengli Bridge, there is the Chaicun Bridge. Two more bridges are being planned: Beizhonghuan Bridge and Nanzhonghuan Bridge. The primary airport of the city is Taiyuan Wusu Airport.
Taiyuan's local specialties include:
Wheat-made Food: Liang Fen (see Grass jelly), Mian Pi
Noodles: Dalu Mian, Dao Xiao Mian , Lamian, Mao Er Duo(Cat Ear Noodle), Xi Hong Shi Chao Ji Dan Mian(Noodles with Tomato and Scrambled Eggs ), Ti Mian Scraped Noodles)
Soup: Tou Nao ("Brain" Soup), Yang Za Ge, Wan Zi Tang (meat ball soup)
Vinegar: Taiyuan is known for its vinegar, Lao Chen Cu ("Long-preserved Vinegar"). It has a very strong taste and is known worldwide.
Taiyuan also has a wealth of tourist attractions and notably among these is the Jinci Temple. This is the city's most attractive temple although the Shuangta Si (Twin-Pagoda Temple) has become a symbol of Taiyuan on account of its unique architecture. Another major attraction is the Tianlong Shan Stone Caves where magnificent sculptures dating from the Tang Dynasty (618-907) may be seen.
A food street in TaiyuanSeveral tourist attractions in and around Taiyuan include the Liu Xiang Lane, which contains ancient Chinese houses of important heritage, and several temples, such as the Chongshan Monastery, the Twin Pagoda Temple, and the Shaunglin Monastery Longtan Park and Yinze Park are also popular tourist destinations.
Taiyuan is also known for its Liuxiang shopping district and the construction of parks and recreational areas that are praised by the UN Environmental Programme for their role in the improvement of the environmental condition of Taiyuan. Taiyuan's environmental improvement project is being copied in many other Chinese cities and urban areas around the world.