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Not to be confused with Taiwan or Taoyuan City.
Prefecture-level city
Clockwise from top: Downtown Taiyuan, The east pagoda in Twin Pagoda Temple, Jinci Temple, Longtan Park.
Clockwise from top: Downtown Taiyuan, The east pagoda in Twin Pagoda Temple, Jinci Temple, Longtan Park.
Official seal of Taiyuan
Nickname(s): Bingzhou (并州); Jinyang (晋阳); Dragon City (龙城)
Taiyuan (red) in Shanxi (orange)
Taiyuan (red) in Shanxi (orange)
Taiyuan is located in Shanxi
Location of the city center in Shanxi
Coordinates: 37°52′10″N 112°33′37″E / 37.86944°N 112.56028°E / 37.86944; 112.56028Coordinates: 37°52′10″N 112°33′37″E / 37.86944°N 112.56028°E / 37.86944; 112.56028
Country People's Republic of China
Province Shanxi
 • Mayor Geng Yanbo 耿彦波 (acting mayor)
 • Prefecture-level city 6,959 km2 (2,687 sq mi)
 • Urban 1,460 km2 (560 sq mi)
Elevation 800 m (2,600 ft)
Highest elevation 2,670 m (8,760 ft)
Lowest elevation 760 m (2,490 ft)
Population (2010 census)
 • Prefecture-level city 4,201,591
 • Density 600/km2 (1,600/sq mi)
 • Urban 3,212,500
 • Urban density 2,200/km2 (5,700/sq mi)
Time zone China Standard (UTC+8)
Postal code 030000
Area code(s) 351
GDP ¥ 177.8 billion (2010)
GDP per capita ¥ 50,802 (2010)
Major Nationalities Han
Licence plates A
Administrative division code 140100
ISO 3166-2 CN-14-01
Website taiyuan.gov.cn
TY name.svg
"Taiyuan", as written in Chinese
Chinese 太原
Literal meaning Great Plains

Taiyuan (Chinese: 太原; pinyin: Tàiyuán [tʰaɪ̂ɥɛ̌n], also known as Bing (并), Jinyang (晋阳)[1]) is the capital and largest city of North China's Shanxi province.[2] At the 2010 census, it had a total population of 4,201,591 inhabitants on 6,959 km2 (2,687 sq mi), from whom 3,212,500 are urban on 1,460 km2 (560 sq mi). The name of the city literally means "Great Plains", referring to the location where the Fen River leaves the mountains. The city is located at the centre of the province with an East-West span of 144 km and a North-South span of 107 km.[1][3]



From around 859 BC the area around modern Taiyuan was occupied by the Rong people. In 662 BC the Rong were driven out by the Beidi people.[4]

During the Later Han dynasty (25–220 AD), Taiyuan was the capital of Bing province. The city was a secondary capital of the Eastern Wei (534–550) and Northern Qi (550–577) dynasties, during which it grew into a fairly large city and became a center of Buddhism. A new city was built in 562, which was later linked to the old city during the Tang dynasty (618–907), in AD 733.[citation needed]

The dynastic founder of the Tang dynasty, Li Yuan, was from Taiyuan. Li began his conquest of China with Taiyuan as a base, and relied heavily on the support of its local aristocracy. Li's successor, Li Shimin, was also from Taiyuan. The cave temples at Tianlong Mountain, just southwest of the city, were constructed during the mid-to-late Tang dynasty. Taiyuan was periodically designated as the Tang's northern capital under the name Beidu (Chinese: 北都; pinyin: Běidū) and grew into a heavily fortified military base as the dynasty progressed.[citation needed]

The old city was at Taiyuanzhen, a few miles east of the modern city. After the Song dynasty conquered China in 960, Emperor Taizong ordered the old city's destruction, but a new city was founded on the banks of the Fen River in 982.[5]

In 1375, near the beginning of the Ming dynasty, it became the headquarters of the surrounding region.[6]

In 1900 the Taiyuan Massacre occurred, when a number of western missionaries were killed.[7]

Taiyuan Cathedral, photographed by Edouard Chavannes in 1907

The oldest existing building in the city is the Temple of the Goddess (simplified Chinese: 殿; traditional Chinese: 殿) inside the Jin Ci Complex: it was originally built in 1023 AD and reconstructed in 1102. Taiyuan was deliberately flooded several times, including in 453 BC and 969 AD.


The warlord Yan Xishan retained control of Shanxi from the Xinhai Revolution in 1911 to the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949. Taiyuan consequently flourished as the center of his comparatively progressive province and experienced extensive industrial development. It was linked by rail both to the far southwest of Shanxi and to Datong in the north. Until the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949 Yan's arsenal in Taiyuan was the only factory in China sufficiently advanced to produce field artillery. Because Yan succeeded in keeping Shanxi uninvolved in most of the major battles between rival warlords that occurred in China during the 1910s and 1920s, Taiyuan was never taken from Yan by an invading army until the Japanese conquered it in 1937.[8]

The Chinese people and army applauding for the victory of one campaign in 1937

Yan was aware of the threat posed by the Japanese; and, in order to defend against the impending Japanese invasion of Shanxi, Yan entered into a secret "united front" agreement with the Communists in November 1936. After concluding his alliance with the Communists he allowed agents under Zhou Enlai to establish a secret headquarters in Taiyuan.[9] Yan, under the slogan "resistance against the enemy and defense of the soil" attempted to recruit young, patriotic intellectuals to his government from across China, so that by 1936 Taiyuan became a gathering point for anti-Japanese intellectuals who had fled from Beijing, Tianjin, and Northeast China.[10] A representative of the Japanese army, speaking of the final defense of Taiyuan, said that "nowhere in China have the Chinese fought so obstinately".[11]

From the Japanese occupation of Taiyuan to the Japanese surrender in 1945, the Japanese continued to develop Taiyuan's industries and resources. After the Japanese army in Shanxi surrendered to Yan Xishan, 10,000–15,000 Japanese troops, including both enlisted men and officers, decided to fight for Yan rather than return to Japan. Yan also retained the services of experienced and foreign-educated Japanese technicians and professional staff brought into Taiyuan by the Japanese to run the complex of industries that they had developed around Taiyuan.[12]

Taiyuan Campaign

Taiyuan was the last area in Shanxi to resist Communist control during the final stages of the Chinese Civil War. The city fell on April 22, 1949, after the Communists surrounded Taiyuan and cut it off from all means of land and air supply, and taking the city required the support of 1,300 pieces of artillery.[13] The fall of Taiyuan was one of the few examples in the Chinese Civil War in which Nationalist forces echoed the defeated Ming loyalists who had, in the 17th century, brought entire cities to ruins resisting the invading Manchus. Many Nationalist officers committed suicide when the city fell. The dead included Yan's nephew-in-law, who was serving as governor, and his cousin, who ran his household. Liang Huazhi, the head of Yan's "Patriotic Sacrifice League", had fought for years against the Communists in Shanxi until he was finally trapped in the massively fortified city of Taiyuan. For six months Liang led a savage resistance, leading both Yan's remaining forces and those of the warlord's thousands of Japanese mercenaries. When Communist troops finally broke into the city and began to occupy large sections of it, Liang barricaded himself inside a large, fortified prison complex filled with Communist prisoners. In a final act of self-sacrifice, Liang set fire to the prison and committed suicide as the entire compound burned to the ground.[14]


Satellite image of Taiyuan

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 is centrally located in Shanxi and commands the north-south route through the province, as well as important natural lines of communication through the Taihang Mountains to Hebei in the east and (via Fenyang) to northern Shanxi in the west.


Taiyuan experiences a semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSk). Spring is dry, with frequent dust storms, followed by early summer heat waves. Summer tends to be warm to hot with most of the year's rainfall concentrated in July and August. Winter is long and cold, but dry and sunny. Because of the aridity, there tends to be considerable diurnal variation in temperature, except during the summer. Conditions are much cooler than comparable-latitude cities, such as Shijiazhuang, due to the moderately high altitude. The monthly 24-hour average temperature range from −5.5 °C (22.1 °F) in January to 23.4 °C (74.1 °F) in July, while the annual mean is 9.96 °C (49.9 °F). With monthly percent possible sunshine ranging from 51 percent in July to 61 percent in May, there are 2,502 hours of sunshine annually.

Climate data for Taiyuan (1971–2000)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 1.8
Average low °C (°F) −11.6
Precipitation mm (inches) 3.2
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 1.9 2.9 4.4 4.3 5.7 9.3 12.4 11.2 8.1 5.4 3.3 1.4 70.3
Average humidity (%) 50 47 50 47 50 61 73 77 74 67 62 56 59.5
Mean monthly sunshine hours 173.4 174.0 202.3 229.8 265.1 250.9 228.6 223.8 209.6 206.9 174.6 162.6 2,501.6
Percent possible sunshine 57 58 55 59 61 57 51 53 56 60 57 55 56.6
Source: China Meteorological Administration[15]


According to the 2005 statistical book issued by the National Bureau of Statistics, Taiyuan scored the fourth worst among China's main cities in air quality, with only 224 days (2004) of ambient air quality equal to or above grade II, after Lanzhou (worse, 204), Jinan (210) and Changsha (219), with 0.175 milligrams/m2 of particulate matter (the most/worst of all main cities) and 0.087 milligrams/m2 of sulphur dioxide (4th worst).[16]

While the city remains heavily polluted, the situation has improved as a result of factory shutdowns arising from China's hosting of the Olympic Games and the global economic downturn.[17]

According to the National Environmental Analysis released by Tsinghua University and The Asian Development Bank in January 2013, Taiyuan is among one of ten most air polluted cities in the world.[18]

Administrative divisions[edit]

Map # Name Simplified Chinese Hanyu Pinyin Population (2003 est.) Area (km²) Density (/km²)
Taiyuan mcp.png
City Proper
1 Xinghualing District 杏花岭区 Xìnghuālǐng Qū 530,000 170 3,118
3 Yingze District 迎泽区 Yíngzé Qū 490,000 117 4,188
2 Xiaodian District 小店区 Xiǎodiàn Qū 470,000 295 1,593
4 Jiancaoping District 尖草坪区 Jiāncǎopíng Qū 330,000 286 1,154
5 Wanbailin District 万柏林区 Wànbǎilín Qū 500,000 305 1,639
6 Jinyuan District 晋源区 Jìnyuán Qū 180,000 287 627
Satellite cities
7 Gujiao City 古交市 Gǔjiāo Shì 210,000 1,540 136
8 Qingxu County 清徐县 Qīngxú Xiàn 300,000 607 494
9 Yangqu County 阳曲县 Yángqǔ Xiàn 140,000 2,062 88
10 Loufan County 娄烦县 Lóufán Xiàn 120,000 1,290 93


The Taiyuan - Yuci built up area is home to nearly 4,000,000 inhabitants in 2010.


In 2008, Taiyuan's nominal GDP was 146.8 billion yuan, a growth of 8.1 percent from the previous year. Taiyuan's primary, secondary, and tertiary industries were worth 2 billion yuan, 63.9 billion yuan, and 59.6 billion yuan respectively in 2007.[citation needed]

Shanxi produces a quarter of China's coal, and Taiyuan is the location of the China Taiyuan Coal Transaction Center, which began trading in 2012.[19]

Residential Area[edit]

The most populated area in Taiyuan is Yinze District which is the downtown of Taiyuan City. Wanbailing and Xinhualing Districts are the other major residential districts. Apartments in high rises are the most common residence for the civics. Rare houses occupied by the government officials can be found along part of the Fen River and the suburbs except the northern area of the city for the high density of heavy industry in the north.[citation needed]


Inner City transportation[edit]

A bus at Taiyuan

The Fen River flows through 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 limits: 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.[citation needed]


Taiyuan Airport

The primary airport of the city is Taiyuan Wusu Airport. The airport has been expanded for the landing of Airbus A380.



Taiyuan Train Station

The newly constructed Shijiazhuang–Taiyuan High-Speed Railway has shortened the travel time between Taiyuan and Beijing to less than three hours on a distance of 600 km (370 mi).[citation needed]

The Taiyuan–Zhongwei–Yinchuan Railway, opened in 2011, provides a direct connection with western Shanxi, northern Shaanxi, Ningxia, and points west.


Shanxi Mature Vinegar

Taiyuan's local specialities include:[citation needed]

  • Guoyourou (simplified Chinese: 过油肉; traditional Chinese: 過油肉; pinyin: Guò yóu ròu), stir fried meat
  • Yang za (simplified Chinese: 羊杂; traditional Chinese: 羊雜; pinyin: Yáng zá), stir fried mixed mutton offal, is the featured dish in many popular restaurants
  • liangfen (see grass jelly)
  • mian pi (Chinese: 面皮; pinyin: Miànpí)
  • Noodles:
    • Daoxiaomian (Chinese: 刀削面; pinyin: Dāoxiāomiàn; literally: "knife-sliced noodles")
    • lamian
    • Maoerduo (simplified Chinese: 猫耳朵; traditional Chinese: 貓耳朵; pinyin: Māoěr duo; literally: "cat-ear shaped noodle")
    • Tomato egg noodles (simplified Chinese: 西红柿炒鸡蛋面; traditional Chinese: 西紅柿炒雞蛋面; pinyin: Xīhóngshì chǎo jīdàn miàn; literally: "noodles with tomato and scrambled eggs")
    • Tjian (Chinese: 剔尖; pinyin: Tī jiān; literally: "scraped noodles")
  • Tounao (simplified Chinese: 头脑; traditional Chinese: 頭腦; pinyin: Tóunǎo; literally: "brain soup"): Contains mutton, rice wine and vegetables in the soup. This dish was first created by Chinese polymath Fu Shan, who was proficient in medicine, for his old and illness-ridden mother as a food substitute for the ancient medicine Bazhen Tang (literally "Soup of Eight Treasures") using only locally available food materials that have similar effects as the original medicine.[20]


Fen River Park
The twin towers inside the Yongzuo Temple.

Several 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 Jinci Temple, the Yongzuo Temple, and the Longtan Park and Yingze Park are also popular tourist destinations.[21] Taiyuan is also home to the Shanxi Museum, the largest in the province, and the Coal Museum of China.[citation needed]


Major schools[edit]

Colleges and universities[edit]

See also[edit]

International relations[edit]

Taiyuan has a friendship pairing with the following cities:[22]


  1. ^ a b http://www.shanxigov.cn/n16/n8319541/n8319597/16555621.html
  2. ^ "Illuminating China's Provinces, Municipalities and Autonomous Regions". PRC Central Government Official Website. Retrieved 2014-05-17. 
  3. ^ "City of Taiyuan". People's Government of Shanxi. 
  4. ^ 先秦史籍中的“太原” (Chinese)
  5. ^ 宋太宗平毁太原 盗墓史上那些挖别人祖坟的事(4)
  6. ^ "China City Information: Taiyuan". ChinaToday.com. Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  7. ^ Roger R. Thompson (2007). "Reporting the Taiyuan Massacre: Culture and Politics in the China War of 1900". In Robert Bickers and R.G. Tiedemann. The Boxers, China, and the World. Rowman & Littlefield. 
  8. ^ Gillin, Donald G. "Portrait of a Warlord: Yen Hsi-shan in Shansi Province, 1911-1930." The Journal of Asian Studies. Vol. 19, No. 3, May, 1960. Retrieved February 23, 2011. pp.289-294.
  9. ^ Gillin, Donald G. Warlord: Yen Hsi-shan in Shansi Province 1911-1949. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. 1967. p.263.
  10. ^ Feng Chongyi and Goodman, David S. G., eds. North China at War: The Social Ecology of Revolution, 1937-1945. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield. 2000. ISBN 0-8476-9938-2. Retrieved June 3, 2012. pp.157-158
  11. ^ Gillin, Donald G. Warlord: Yen Hsi-shan in Shansi Province 1911-1949. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. 1967. pp.272–273.
  12. ^ Gillin, Donald G. and Etter, Charles. "Staying On: Japanese Soldiers and Civilians in China, 1945-1949." The Journal of Asian Studies. Vol. 42, No. 3, May, 1983. Retrieved February 23, 2011. p.500, 506–508.
  13. ^ Gillin, Donald G. Warlord: Yen Hsi-shan in Shansi Province 1911-1949. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. 1967. p.288.
  14. ^ Spence, Jonathan D. The Search for Modern China, W.W. Norton and Company. 1999. ISBN 0-393-97351-4. p.488
  15. ^ 中国地面国际交换站气候标准值月值数据集(1971-2000年) (in Chinese). China Meteorological Administration. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  16. ^ "Ambient Air Quality in Main Cities (2004) in China Statistics 2005". Retrieved 2011-04-10. 
  17. ^ Kathleen E. McLaughlin (30 May 2010). "Bad economy, better lungs?". Global Post. Retrieved 21 March 2012. 
  18. ^ "WEATHER & EXTREME EVENTS 7 of 10 Most Air-Polluted Cities Are in China". JAN 16, 2013 (Imaginechina/Corbis). http://news.discovery.com. Retrieved 1 September 2014. 
  19. ^ "China Taiyuan coal transaction center put into operation". China.org.cn. 23 February 2012. Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  20. ^ 太原名吃头脑
  21. ^ Taiyuan Attractions
  22. ^ "Foreign Exchanges". Doing Business in Shanxi. China.org.cn. Retrieved 7 April 2013. 
  23. ^ "Sister Cities of Nashville". SCNashville.org. Retrieved August 3, 2011. 

External links[edit]