Taiyuan (Chinese: 太原; pinyin: Tàiyuán [tʰaɪ̂ɥɛ̌n], also known as Bing (并), Jinyang (晋阳)) is the capital and largest city of North China's Shanxi province. It is one of the main manufacturing bases of China. Throughout its long history, Taiyuan was the capital or provisional capital of many dynasties in China, hence the name Longcheng (龙城, "Dragon City").
- 1 Etymology and names
- 2 History
- 2.1 Pre-Qin dynasty history
- 2.2 Qin dynasty
- 2.3 Han dynasty and Three Kingdoms
- 2.4 Jin dynasty and Sixteen Kingdoms
- 2.5 Southern and Northern Dynasties
- 2.6 Sui dynasty
- 2.7 Tang dynasty
- 2.8 Five Dynasties
- 2.9 Song dynasty
- 2.10 Jin dynasty
- 2.11 Yuan dynasty
- 2.12 Ming dynasty
- 2.13 Qing dynasty
- 2.14 1911–1949
- 3 Geography
- 4 Administrative divisions
- 5 Demographics
- 6 Economy
- 7 Residential Area
- 8 Transportation
- 9 Food
- 10 Tourism
- 11 Education
- 12 See also
- 13 International relations
- 14 References
- 15 External links
Etymology and names
The two Chinese characters of the city's name are 太(tài, "great") and 原(yuán, "plain"), referring to the location where the Fen River leaves the mountains, and enters a relatively flat plain. Throughout its long history, the city had various names, including Bīngzhōu (并州), (from which the city's abbreviated single character name Bīng (并) is derived), Jìnyáng (晋阳), Lóngchéng (龙城), etc.
During the Tang dynasty and subsequent Five Dynasties, the status of the city of Taiyuan was elevated to be the Northern Capital, hence the name Beidu (北都), and Beijing (北京, different from present-day Beijing).
Taiyuan is an ancient city with more than 2500 years of urban history, dating back from 497 BC. It was the capital or provisional capital (陪都, 别都) of Zhao, Former Qin, Eastern Wei, Northern Qi, Northern Jin, Later Tang, Later Jin, Later Han, Northern Han. Its strategic location and rich history make Taiyuan one of the economic, political, military, and cultural centers of Northern China.
Pre-Qin dynasty history
During the Spring and Autumn Period, the state of Jin emerged to the south of Taiyuan. In 541 BC, the Jin army led by General Xun Wu (荀吴), drove out the Di Tribes, and Taiyuan became part of the state of Jin.
In 497 BC，the first ancient city of Jinyang was built around the southern Jinyuan District of present-day Taiyuan, by Dong Anyu (董安于), who was a steward of Zhao Jianzi (赵简子, 赵鞅), an upper-level official of the state of Jin.,
During the Battle of Jinyang in 453 BC, Zhi Yao (智伯瑶) diverted the flow of the Fen River to inundate the city of Jinyang, caused significant damage to the Zhao. Later, Zhao Xiangzi (赵襄子) alerted Wei and Han, who both decided to ally with Zhao. On the night of May 8, 453 BC, Zhao troops broke the dams of the Fen River and let the river flood the Zhi armies, and eventually annihilated the Zhi army, with the help from Wei and Han.
After the Tripartition of Jin in 403 BC, the state of Jin, then a strong power in Northern China, was divided into three smaller states of Han, Zhao and Wei. Jinyang, was chosen as the capital of Zhao, by Zhao Ji. Later, the capital of Zhao was moved to Handan (邯郸).
In 248 BC, the state of Qin attacked Zhao under General Meng'ao, and obtained the area around Jinyang from Zhao. Qin set up the Commandery of Taiyuan (太原郡), with the city of Jinyang as its administrative center. Although, the name Taiyuan had appeared in historic records before, potentially referring to different regions in nowadays southern and central Shanxi, this was the first time Taiyuan was officially used to refer to present-day Taiyuan.
In 246 BC, there was an uprising in Jinyang, and it was quickly quelled by Meng'ao.
Han dynasty and Three Kingdoms
In 202 BC, Emperor Gaozu Liu Bang established the Han dynasty. During that period, the administrative system of Commanderies in Qin dynasty was abolished, the two Commanderies of Taiyuan and Yanmen (雁门郡) were combined as the vassal state of Han (韩国) under the rule of King Xin of Han (韩王信), who was sent here by the emperor to defend the northern border against Xiongnu.
Later, King Xin of Han moved the capital from Jinyang to Mayi (present-day Shuozhou) with the approval from the emperor Gaozu. However, King Xin of Han conspired with the Xiongnu against Gaozu, and attacked Han for many years. In 196 BC, King Xin of Han was killed after he lost a battle. And the vassal state of Han was replaced by the vassal state of Dai, with Jinyang as the administrative center of Dai.
In 178 BC, Dai was further divided into two vassal states: Dai and Taiyuan, with Taiyuan ruling the previous Commandery of Taiyuan of Qin Dynasty.
In 114 BC, the vassal state of Dai was abolished, and the Commandery of Taiyuan was reestablished with the administrative center at Jinyang.
During the tumultuous Three Kingdoms, the population of Taiyuan decreased significantly due to constant warfares. Taiyuan was ruled by Gongsun Zan, Yuan Shao, and then by Cao Cao, and was part of Cao Wei afterwards.
Jin dynasty and Sixteen Kingdoms
During the Jin dynasty, Taiyuan was again changed into a vassal state.
In the ending period of Jin dynasty, ethnic minority peoples settled a series of short-lived sovereign states in northern China, commonly referred to as Sixteen Kingdoms. Taiyuan was part of Former Zhao, Later Zhao, Former Qin, Former Yan, Former Qin again, Western Yan, and Later Yan chronologically.
In 319, Taiyuan became part of Later Zhao, founded by Shi Le. Later, Taiyuan was obtained by Former Yan in 358, and by Former Qin in 370. Former Qin was founded by Fu Jian (苻坚) in 351 with capital of Chang'an.
Fu Jian died in 384. His son Fu Pi declared himself an emperor in 385, with Jinyang (central city of Taiyuan) as the capital. But the next year, Fu Pi was defeated by the Western Yan prince Murong Yong in 386, and Taiyuan became part of Western Yan.
In 394, Taiyuan was conquered by Later Yan army.
During this period, there were numerous wars around Taiyuan, and the administrative settings changed frequently.
Southern and Northern Dynasties
In 550, Northern Qi was founded by Gao Yang, who maintained his father Gao Huan's choice of Taiyuan as the alternative capital. The Buddhist Tianlongshan Grottoes of Taiyuan started during this period, and continued work lasted for many centuries afterwards.
In 577, Taiyuan was conquested and became part of Northern Zhou.
In 581, Emperor Wen of Sui founded Sui dynasty. Jinyang was first the administrative center of Bing Zhou (并州), which was changed into Taiyuan Commandery. In 617, Li Yuan rose in rebellion based in Taiyuan, and expanded quickly.
In 618, Li Yuan founded Tang dynasty, which is generally considered a golden age of Chinese civilization. Taiyuan expanded significantly during the Tang dynasty, partly because Taiyuan was the military base of the founding emperors Li Yuan and Li Shimin. As Li Shimin wrote in 619: "Taiyuan, the base of the imperial regime and the foundation of the state." (太原，王业所基，国之根本) 
In 690, Wu Zetian set Taiyuan as the Northern Capital, (Beidu, 北都), one of the three capitals, along with Chang'an and Luoyang, as depicted in the poem by Li Bai, "天王三京，北都居一" ("The king of the heaven has three capitals, the Northern capital is one of them."). In 742 AD, Emperor Xuanzong of Tang changed further to Beijing (北京). During Tang Dynasty, the title Northern Capital to Taiyuan had been endowed or abolished multiple times.
In 907, Zhu Wen ended the Tang dynasty and established the Later Liang around central China. However, the local military governor Li Keyong maintained independence from Later Liang, and continued using the era name of Tang dynasty.
In 923, Li Cunxu, son of Li Keyong, founded Later Tang with capital of Daming, and soon conquered most of North China, and ended Later Liang. Afterwards, Li Cunxu moved the capital from Daming to Luoyang, and Taiyuan was set as a provisional capital, titled "Beijing" (Northern Capital).
In 936, Shi Jingtang established Later Jin in Taiyuan with the help from Khitan Liao dynasty. In exchange, Shi Jingtang ceded the strategic Sixteen Prefectures of Yan and Yun to Liao. The next year, Shi Jingtang moved the capital from Taiyuan to Luoyang, and then to Kaifeng, and Taiyuan became a provisional northern capital ("Beijing") again.
In 947, Liu Zhiyuan founded Later Han in Taiyuan. Later, Liu Zhiyuan moved the capital from Taiyuan to Kaifeng, after conquered central China. Taiyuan yet again served as a provisional northern capital ("Beijing").
In 979, Song Emperor Zhao Guangyi started a campaign to destroy the Northern Han. He sieged the Northern Han capital of Taiyuan for two months. Finally the leader of the Northern Han surrendered. Angered by the persistent resistance by the people of Taiyuan, Zhao Guangyi ordered the flooding of Taiyuan by releasing the Fen River, and destroyed the city. It was not until 982 that a new city was founded on the banks of the Fen River.
The oldest existing building in Taiyuan today is the Temple of the Goddess (simplified Chinese: 圣母殿; traditional Chinese: 聖母殿) inside the Jin Ci Complex. It was originally built in 1023 and reconstructed in 1102.
The Jurchen Jin dynasty was founded in 1115, and in 1125, Taiyuan was conquered by Jin. The same year, after the conquest of North China by Jin, the capital of Song was shifted to Lin'an, which marked the end of Northern Song, and the start of the Southern Song dynasty.
The Mongol empire emerged in 1206 under the leadership of Genghis Khan, and it expanded quickly. In 1218, Taiyuan was conquested by the Mongol army led by General Muqali. Kublai Khan established the Yuan dynasty in 1271, and the administrative area of Taiyuan Lu (太原路) was expanded.
In 1368, Zhu Yuanzhang established the Ming dynasty, and Taiyuan was obtained from Yuan, by General Xu Da. The Ming dynasty installed Nine Military Garrisons to defend the northern territory during the reign of the Hongzhi Emperor, which included the Garrison of Taiyuan (太原镇). In the ending period of Ming dynasty, the rebel leader Li Zicheng conquered Taiyuan, and Taiyuan became part of Great Shun temporarily in 1644.
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.
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. 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. A representative of the Japanese army, speaking of the final defense of Taiyuan, said that "nowhere in China have the Chinese fought so obstinately".
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.
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. 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.
Taiyuan is one of the major industrial cities of China and lies on the Fen River in the north of its fertile upper basin. It is located in central 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 Shaanxi in the west. The city is located at the center of the province with an East-West span of 144 km and a North-South span of 107 km.
Taiyuan experiences a semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSk). Spring is dry, with occasional 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. The weather is 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)|
|Average high °C (°F)||1.8
|Average low °C (°F)||−11.6
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||3.2
|Average 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 relative 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|
The municipality of Taiyuan is 6988 km2. Taiyuan has a forest area of 146,700 hectares. and total grassland area of 422.5 km2 in 2007. The forest area coverage rate in the six urban districts has been increased to 21.69% in 2015.
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).
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. While, situation has gradually changed. Due to the declination of economy, the pollution from over-production cannot be seen anymore. Therefore, the environment has become better than before.
|Name||Simplified Chinese||Hanyu Pinyin||Population (2003 est.)||Area (km²)||Density (/km²)|
|Xiaodian District||小店区||Xiǎodiàn Qū||470,000||295||1,593|
|Yingze District||迎泽区||Yíngzé Qū||490,000||117||4,188|
|Xinghualing District||杏花岭区||Xìnghuālǐng Qū||530,000||170||3,118|
|Jiancaoping District||尖草坪区||Jiāncǎopíng Qū||330,000||286||1,154|
|Wanbailin District||万柏林区||Wànbǎilín Qū||500,000||305||1,639|
|Jinyuan District||晋源区||Jìnyuán Qū||180,000||287||627|
|Gujiao City||古交市||Gǔjiāo Shì||210,000||1,540||136|
|Qingxu County||清徐县||Qīngxú Xiàn||300,000||607||494|
|Yangqu County||阳曲县||Yángqǔ Xiàn||140,000||2,062||88|
|Loufan County||娄烦县||Lóufán Xiàn||120,000||1,290||93|
At the 2010 census, Taiyuan prefecture 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).
In 2013, Taiyuan's nominal GDP was 241.29 billion yuan, or 40.215 billion USD, a growth of 8.1 percent from the previous year. Taiyuan's primary, secondary, and tertiary industries were worth 3.9 billion yuan, 105.2 billion yuan, and 132.2 billion yuan respectively in 2007  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.
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.
Taiyuan is one of the transportation hubs in North China, with highways linking neighboring provincial capitals, and airlines to most other major Chinese cities and some international cities.
Inner City transportation
Taiyuan has a convenient bus transportation system.
The public bicycles are also very common on the streets of Taiyuan.
The primary airport of the city is Taiyuan Wusu Airport. The airport has been expanded for the landing of Airbus A380. The airport has domestic airlines to major cities including Beijing, Shanghai, and coastal cities such as Dalian. International flying service to Taipei and Da Nang is also available.
Since Taiyuan is one of the main hubs of highway transportation, there are a lot of highways passing Taiyuan, including national level expressways or highways of G5, G20, G55, G2001 (Ring Highway around Taiyuan), G307, G108, G208, etc.
- Two highways on the banks of Fen River run through the center of the city.
- A 45-kilometer Middle Ring Highway (太原中环快速路) circling the metropolis of City of Taiyuan was built in 2013.
- The South Shahe highway passing through central Taiyuan was finished in 2015.
- The southern part of Taiyuan, which will be the new downtown area of Taiyuan, is under construction to have three "East-West" direction highways: South Middle Ring Street (南中环街), Huazhang Street (化章街) and Yingbin Road (迎宾路), and five "North-South" direction highways: West Middle Ring Street (西中环路)，Binhe West Road (滨河西路), Binhe East Road (滨河东路), Dayun Road (大运路), Jianshe Road (建设路) & Taiyu Road (太榆路).
- The western S56 Taiyuan-Gujiao Highway links Taiyuan with the western satellite city of Gujiao.
- The northern Yangxing Highway (阳兴大道) connects downtown Taiyuan with the northern suburb of Yangqu County.
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). The main high-speed railway station is Taiyuan Nan (Taiyuan South) station. The Taiyuan–Zhongwei–Yinchuan Railway, opened in 2011, provides a direct connection with western Shanxi, northern Shaanxi, Ningxia, and points west.
Taiyuan's local specialities include:
- 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)
- Daoxiaomian (Chinese: 刀削面; pinyin: Dāoxiāomiàn; literally: "knife-sliced noodles")
- 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.
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. Taiyuan is also home to the Shanxi Museum, the largest in the province, the Shanxi Folklore Museum, and the Coal Museum of China.
- The Affiliated High School of Shanxi University
- Shanxi Experimental Secondary School
- Taiyuan Foreign Language School
- Taiyuan No. 5 Secondary School
Colleges and universities
- North University of China
- Shanxi College of Traditional Chinese Medicine
- Shanxi Medical University
- Shanxi University
- Shanxi University of Finance and Economics
- Taiyuan Normal University
- Taiyuan University of Science and Technology
- Taiyuan University of Technology
- Launceston, Tasmania, Australia
- Douala, Cameroon
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- Himeji, Hyōgo, Japan
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Largest cities or towns in China
Sixth National Population Census of the People's Republic of China (2010)
|9||Hong Kong||Hong Kong||7,055,071||19||Dalian||Liaoning||3,902,500|