Coordinates: 36°39′00″N 109°29′38″E / 36.650°N 109.494°E / 36.650; 109.494
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Location of Yan'an City jurisdiction in Shaanxi
Location of Yan'an City jurisdiction in Shaanxi
Yan'an is located in China
Location in China
Coordinates (Yan'an municipal government): 36°39′00″N 109°29′38″E / 36.650°N 109.494°E / 36.650; 109.494
Country People's Republic of China
 • Total37,031.3 km2 (14,297.9 sq mi)
960 m (3,150 ft)
 • Total2,255,700
 • Density61/km2 (160/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+8 (China Standard)
ISO 3166 codeCN-SN-06
License plates陕J
"Yán'ān" in Chinese characters
Simplified Chinese延安
Hanyu PinyinYán'ān

Yan'an (Chinese: 延安; pinyin: Yán'ān; Mandarin pronunciation: [jɛ̌n.án]), alternatively spelled as Yenan, is a prefecture-level city in the Shaanbei region of Shaanxi province, China, bordering Shanxi to the east and Gansu to the west. It administers several counties, including Zhidan (formerly Bao'an), which served as the headquarters of the Chinese Communists before the city of Yan'an proper took that role.

Yan'an was near the endpoint of the Long March, and became the center of the Chinese Communist revolution from late 1935 to early 1947. Chinese communists celebrate Yan'an as the birthplace of the revolution.

As of 2019, Yan'an has approximately 2,255,700 permanent residents.[1]: 4–5 


Street in Yan'an, 1914

Yan'an was populated at least as early as the Xia dynasty.[2] During the Spring and Autumn period, the area was inhabited by the Beidi people.[2] During the Western Wei the area was organized as Yanzhou [zh].[2] Under the Sui dynasty, the area was re-organized as Yan'an Commandery [zh],[3] and a military base was established.[citation needed] The area became an important defensive outpost for the subsequent Tang dynasty,[4] which renamed the area Yanzhou in 758 CE.[2] Yanzhou was a location of strategic military importance for the Chinese empire and Tanguts of the Western Xia dynasty.[citation needed] It was once successfully defended by the Song dynasty era Chinese scientist, statesman, and general Shen Kuo.[citation needed] However, it was eventually taken over by the Tanguts in 1082 once Shen's defensive victories were marginalized and sacrificed by the new chancellor Cai Que (who handed the city over to the Tanguts as terms of a peace treaty).[citation needed] In 1089, under the Song dynasty, Yanzhou was renamed to Yan'an, and was promoted to a fu (Chinese: ).[2] Yan'an and the whole of Shaanxi were taken over by the Mongols in the late 1220s, only after their leader Genghis Khan had died during the siege of the Western Xia capital in 1227.[citation needed]

Prior to the Dungan Revolt (1862–1877), much of rural Yan'an was inhabited by Chinese Muslims.[5]: 128  Much of its Muslim population was either killed in massacres, or forcibly relocated to areas further northwest, like Gansu.[5]: 128  The demographic impacts of this was felt for decades, as the local economy cratered, and insufficient government support hindered recovery efforts.[5]: 128–129  In 1823, Bao'an (present-day Zhidan County) had a population of 51,000, but only 170 remained in 1868; Yan'an (present-day Baota District) had 61,200 inhabitants in 1823, but only about 10,000 in 1930.[5]: 128  One account from a British traveler in 1911 described Yan'an as "a city of pretentious Government Offices long fallen into decay...Gazing down a vista of dim distant years one caught a glimpse of past splendour; but the living forces of which it had been the drapery and symbols had long since died out, leaving stagnation, corruption and decay to reign in its halls".[5]: 129–130 

After the fall of the Qing dynasty, the city became part of the newly created Republic of China, and was reorganized by the Republican government in 1913 under Yulin Circuit [zh].[2]

Throughout the Republic of China, "feudal"-like landlordism persisted in Yan'an, and a number of observers found it to be worse in the region than elsewhere in rural China.[5]: 134–135 

Red Capital and the Chinese Civil War[edit]

Mao with visiting foreign journalists in 1944

In 1934, two regional soviets were established.[2] In October 1935, following the Long March, forces of the Chinese Red Army arrived in the area from Jiangxi.[2] The following month, communist forces established a regional government in Wayaobao and re-organized regional soviet administrations.[2] In May 1936, the area was re-organized by communist forces as Shaan-Gan-Ning Province (Chinese: 陕甘宁省).[2] In December 1936, at the start of the Second United Front, Yan'an was taken over by the Chinese Communists.[6] When Edgar Snow went there in 1936, it was under Kuomintang control and a Red army siege had recently been lifted.[7] Unknown to him at the time, there had also been contacts there between the Communists and the generals who later staged the Xi'an Incident.[citation needed] Snow actually met Mao at Bao'an (Pao An).[citation needed]

Having rebelled against Chiang, the local warlords decided to hand over Yan'an to the Communists, who were now allies. They pulled out, and in January 1937, the Red Army entered Yan'an,[2] without a fight. This is described by Agnes Smedley in her book Battle Hymn of China. She was in Xi'an at the time and got to Yan'an shortly after the take-over.[citation needed]

On September 6, 1937, Yan'an became the seat of the communist government of what became known as the Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia Border Region.[2] It became the center for intensive training of party members and army troops.[citation needed] From 1937 through 1941, the Communist government organized large-scale migrations to Yan'an, predominantly from Suide to the northeast, which was a significantly more densely populated area.[5]: 141  Many farmers from the region were attracted to Yan'an for the prospect of working more land, as well as the Communists' land and tax reforms.[5]: 141  From 1937 to 1939, over 1,500,000 mu of previously unused land was cleared for agriculture.[5]: 143  During this time, the large drive for intense rural labor earned its detractors, and was publicly criticized by some for "giving people a distaste for collective labour".[5]: 143  Subsequently, these types of large-scale labor projects would be handled by the army.[5]: 143  In 1941, Mao Zedong put special influence on a series of training programs to "correct unorthodox tendencies" and essentially mold the peasantry to the communist model. One of the first CPC programs launched was the Yan'an Rectification Movement.[8][9][10]

Conference room; tourists can rent and dress in Chinese Red Army garb

World War II and resumption of the Chinese Civil War[edit]

During the Second World War almost all buildings, except a pagoda, were destroyed by Japanese bombing, and most inhabitants took to living in yaodongs, artificial caves or dugouts carved into hillsides which were traditional dwellings in Shaanxi.[citation needed] While Yan'an was the center of Chinese communist life many prominent Western journalists including Edgar Snow and Anna Louise Strong met with Mao Zedong and other important leaders for interviews.[citation needed] Other Westerners, such as Hsiao Li and Michael Lindsay, were part of the resistance movement in Yan'an.[11]

Beginning in 1944, Yan'an played host to the United States Army Observation Group, also known as the Dixie Mission.[12] This group sought to establish relations with Chinese Communist forces, investigate the Communist Party politically and militarily, and determine whether the United States should back Communist forces.[12] Prominent Americans tasked with evaluating the Communist forces politically and militarily include John S. Service of the United States Department of State, and Colonel David D. Barrett of the United States Army.[12] The mission explored possible plans for cooperation against the Japanese.[citation needed] The Americans had a presence in Yan'an from 1944 to 1947.[citation needed]

Yan'an was briefly captured in the Battle of Yan'an by the Kuomintang forces in the Chinese Civil War.[citation needed] The Communist leadership learned of a planned attack in advance and decided to pull out.[citation needed] From then until their capture of Beijing they were usually based somewhere else, often with a mobile headquarters.[citation needed]

People's Republic of China[edit]

In May 1950, under the People's Republic of China, Yan'an was re-organized as Yan'an District, and was further re-organized as a special district (Chinese: 专区) in October.[2] Yan'an was later established as an area (Chinese: 地区).[2]

On November 5, 1996, Yan'an Area was revoked and established as a prefecture-level city.[2]

Geography and climate[edit]

Yan'an in 1964

Yan'an is located in northern Shaanxi on the Loess Plateau, with a latitude spanning from 35°21′ to 37°31′ N, and a longitude spanning from 107°41′ t0 110°31′ E.[13] The city is bordered by Yulin to the north, Xianyang, Tongchuan, and Weinan in the Guanzhong region to the south, Linfen and Lüliang of Shanxi to the east across the Yellow River, and Qingyang of Gansu to the west across the Ziwu Ridge (Chinese: 子午岭).[13] The city's elevation is hilly, and is higher in the northwest, and lower in the southeast, ranging from 388 metres (1,273 ft) to 1,809 metres (5,935 ft) above sea level in elevation.[13] The average elevation of Yan'an is approximately 1,000 m (3,280 ft), and Yan'an's urban core has an elevation of about 960 metres (3,150 ft) above sea level.[13] In addition to the Yellow River flowing through Yan'an, the city's major rivers include the Yan River and the Luo River.[13]

Yan'an has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dwa) that borders on a steppe climate (Köppen BSk), with cold, dry, and moderately long winters, and hot, somewhat humid summers. Spring and autumn are short transition seasons in between. The monthly 24-hour average temperature ranges from −5.5 °C (22.1 °F) in January to 23.1 °C (73.6 °F) in July, and the annual mean is 9.90 °C (49.8 °F). The area receives 511 millimeters (20.1 in) of precipitation, 47% of which falls in July and August. Yan’an averages around 300 days of sunshine per year.

Climate data for Yan'an (1991–2012 normals, extremes 1971–2000)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 16.6
Average high °C (°F) 2.3
Daily mean °C (°F) −4.9
Average low °C (°F) −10.3
Record low °C (°F) −21.4
Average precipitation mm (inches) 3.2
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 2.4 3.0 4.6 5.9 7.8 9.0 12.0 11.1 9.8 8.1 3.9 2.0 79.6
Average snowy days 4.3 4.0 2.9 0.5 0 0 0 0 0 0.3 2.4 3.6 18
Average relative humidity (%) 54 51 49 44 49 56 67 72 72 68 60 54 58
Mean monthly sunshine hours 196.5 188.2 218.8 242.5 262.6 251.6 231.0 213.7 176.0 190.8 191.3 192.3 2,555.3
Percent possible sunshine 63 61 59 61 60 57 52 52 48 55 63 64 58
Source 1: China Meteorological Administration[14][15]
Source 2: Weather China[16]

Administrative divisions[edit]

Name Hanzi Hanyu Pinyin Population (2019)[1]: 4–6  Area (km2)[2] Density (/km2)
Baota District 宝塔区 Bǎotǎ Qū 497,100 3,537.6 140.52
Ansai District 安塞区 Ānsài Qū 177,600 2,951.3 60.18
Zichang City 子长市 Zǐcháng Shì 219,400 2,393.4 91.67
Yanchang County 延长县 Yáncháng Xiàn 127,900 2,361.6 54.16
Yanchuan County 延川县 Yánchuān Xiàn 170,100 1,986.5 85.63
Zhidan County 志丹县 Zhìdān Xiàn 145,800 3,790.2 38.47
Wuqi County 吴起县 Wúqǐ Xiàn 152,600 3,788.5 40.28
Ganquan County 甘泉县 Gānquán Xiàn 79,100 2,276.1 34.75
Fu County 富县 Fù Xiàn 156,800 4,179.9 37.51
Luochuan County 洛川县 Luòchuān Xiàn 228,200 1,791.3 127.39
Yichuan County 宜川县 Yíchuān Xiàn 121,500 2,937.2 41.37
Huanglong County 黄龙县 Huánglóng Xiàn 49,200 2,751.0 17.88
Huangling County 黄陵县 Huánglíng Xiàn 130,400 2,286.7 57.03


As of 2019, Yan'an has approximately 2,255,700 permanent residents, a slight decrease from the 2,259,400 recorded in 2018.[1]: 4–5  As of 2019, there are 2,336,587 people with a Yan'an hukou registration.[1]: 4–7  This discrepancy reflects China's system of internal migration, as many hukou holders in more rural areas migrate to larger and more developed cities.

Approximately 674,700 people lived in Yan'an's two districts (Baota and Ansai) as of 2019.[1]: 4–6 

Vital statistics[edit]

In 2019, Yan'an recorded a birth rate of 9.80‰ (per thousand), and a death rate of 5.97‰, giving the city a rate of natural increase of 3.83‰.[1]: 4–5  This is a slight decrease from 2018, when the rate of natural increase was 4.30‰.[1]: 4–5 


In 2019, urban households earned an average disposable income of 34,888 RMB, an 8.3% increase from the previous year.[1]: 10–2  Rural households earned a lower average of 11,876 RMB, reflecting a 10.1% increase from the previous year.[1]: 10–2 


Buildings in Baota District

Like much of China, Yan'an's economy has rapidly developed in the 21st century. Yan'an's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019 stood at 166.389 billion RMB, more than ten times its GDP in 2000, which stood at just 13.063 billion RMB.[1]: 3–12  Yan'an recorded a 6.7% increase to GDP in 2019, down from the 8.9% growth recorded in 2018, and below the peak of 19.6% annual GDP growth the city achieved in 2004.[1]: 3–13  The GDP per capita of Yan'an totals 73,703 RMB as of 2019,[1]: 3–12  a 6.9% increase from the previous year.[1]: 3–13  Of Yan'an's county-level divisions, Baota District recorded the largest GDP in 2019, totaling 36.391 billion RMB.[1]: 3–15  Baota District is followed by Luochuan County and Huangling County, which recorded economic outputs totaling 24.387 billion and 18.593 billion RMB, respectively.[1]: 3–15  Yan'an is largely reliant on its secondary sector, which comprises the majority of its GDP as of 2019.[1]: 3–12 

GDP Composition of Yan'an (2019)
Sector 2019 Value (RMB)[1]: 3–12  Percent of Total GDP[1]: 3–12  Annual growth[1]: 3–13 
Primary Sector 14.933 billion 8.975% +5.2%
Secondary Sector 99.985 billion 60.091% +6.5%
Tertiary Sector 51.471 billion 30.934% +7.6%
Total GDP 166.389 billion 100.000% +6.7%


The Yan River in Baota District

As of 2019, the city's output in the fields of agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry, and fishing totals 26.107 billion RMB.[1]: 12–4  Of this, farming accounted for 21.798 billion RMB, animal husbandry accounted for 2.987 billion RMB, forestry accounted for 621.17 million RMB, fishing accounted for 72.82 million RMB, and agricultural services accounted for 628.32 million RMB.[1]: 12–4 

The total area of Yan'an's farmland in 2019 is 183.30 thousand hectares, of which, 72.79 thousand hectares are used for growing maize.[1]: 12-11  Sizable tracts of land in Yan'an are also used to grow vegetables and soybeans.[1]: 12–4  Yan'an has the second largest cotton production out of all the prefecture-level cities in Shaanxi, behind just Weinan.[1]: 12–13  The city also grows a large amount of rapeseeds,[1]: 12–13  peanuts,[1]: 12–13  apples,[1]: 12–18  jujubes,[1]: 12–18  and apricots.[1]: 12–18  Yan'an is also the second largest honey producer in Shaanxi, behind Hanzhong.[1]: 12–24 


As of 2019, the city's industrial output is worth 96.510 billion RMB,[1]: 3–12  a 6.4% increase from the previous year at constant prices.[1]: 3–13  In 2018, the petroleum industry alone accounted for 54.419 billion RMB of output.[17] In addition to oil and natural gas, major industries in the city include coal mining, power generation, and cigarette production.[17]

Petroleum Industry[edit]

Yan'an is a major oil and gas center in China.[12] In 2018, 15,292,400 tons of crude oil were extracted from the city.[17] Of this, 8,565,800 tons were extracted by Yanchang Petroleum, and the remaining 6,726,600 tons were extracted as part of CNPC's Changqing Oil Field.[17] The Changqing Oil Field, part of the wider Ordos basin, one of China's main petroleum-producing regions, has been home to oil extraction since the early 1970s.[18]


The total retail sales of consumer goods in Yan'an totaled 41.113 billion RMB in 2019.[1]: 16-5  The majority of these retail sales took place in Baota District, which recorded 24.000 billion RMB of sales that year.[1]: 16-5 


The Erdao Street Night Market (Chinese: 二道街夜市; pinyin: Èrdào Jiē Yèshì) is a street market in Baota District which features many of the hallmarks of Shaanbei culture, including local cuisine, décor, and folk music.[3]


A scene at the Yan'an Revolutionary Memorial Hall

The city is a major center for Red Tourism in China, with facilities such as the Yan’an Revolution Memorial Hall attracting Chinese citizens and Communist Party cadres seeking to learn more about the Party's history.[12]



Yan'an is home to 251 standard primary schools and 112 standard secondary schools, enrolling 218,100 and 129,900 students, respectively.[19] The city also has 556 kindergartens, enrolling 119,500 students. The city also has 5 special education schools, serving 372 disabled students.[19] As of 2019, Yan'an has 13 public libraries.[1]: 18–19 

Notable Educational Institutions[edit]


Yan'an is home to 2,631 healthcare institutions as of 2019, which contain 14,560 medical beds, and are staffed by 24,298 employees.[1]: 19-7 

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj 陕西统计年鉴—2020 [Shaanxi Statistical Yearbook - 2020] (in Chinese). Shaanxi Provincial Bureau of Statistics. 2020-11-05. Archived from the original on 2021-09-15. Retrieved 2021-09-15.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p 延安市历史沿革 [Yan'an Organizational History]. XZQH.org. 2016-07-15. Archived from the original on 2020-08-06. Retrieved 2021-05-14.
  3. ^ a b 央视来打卡的网红延安二道街夜市文化:见证城市发展变迁. The Paper (in Chinese). 2019-09-14. Archived from the original on 2021-05-14. Retrieved 2021-05-14.
  4. ^ Schellinger, Paul; Salkin, Robert, eds. (1996). International Dictionary of Historic Places, Volume 5: Asia and Oceania. London and Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers. p. 874. ISBN 1-884964-04-4.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Keating, Pauline (July 1994). "The Ecological Origins of the Yan'an Way". The Australian Journal of Chinese Affairs. 32: 123–153. doi:10.2307/2949830. ISSN 0156-7365.
  6. ^ Mao Tse Tung Ruler of Red China by Robert Payne, page 175
  7. ^ Red Star Over China, by Edgar Snow. Page 42
  8. ^ Hua, Gao; Mosher, Stacy; Jian, Guo (2018). How the Red Sun Rose: The Origins and Development of the Yan'an Rectification Movement, 1930–1945. The Chinese University of Hong Kong Press. ISBN 978-962-996-822-9. JSTOR j.ctvbtzp48.
  9. ^ Hua, Gao (2019). How the Red Sun Rose: The Origin and Development of the Yan'an Rectification Movement, 1930–1945. Translated by Mosher, Stacey; Jian, Guo. The Chinese University of Hong Kong Press. ISBN 978-962-996-822-9. Archived from the original on 2021-01-01. Retrieved 2020-08-07.
  10. ^ "CPC history in pictures (4): The War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-1945)". China Daily. Archived from the original on 2021-04-18. Retrieved 2020-08-07.
  11. ^ "Lady Lindsay of Birker". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. 2010-06-09. Archived from the original on 2021-05-09. Retrieved 2021-05-14.
  12. ^ a b c d e Perlez, Jane (2017-01-01). "'Dixie Mission' Americans Scorned for Backing Mao Are Hailed in China". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 2021-05-14. Retrieved 2021-05-14.
  13. ^ a b c d e 延安市概况地图 [Yan'an Overview] (in Chinese). XZQH.org. 2016-07-15. Archived from the original on 2020-08-13. Retrieved 2021-05-14.
  14. ^ 中国气象数据网 – WeatherBk Data (in Simplified Chinese). China Meteorological Administration. Retrieved 24 September 2023.
  15. ^ 中国气象数据网 (in Simplified Chinese). China Meteorological Administration. Retrieved 24 September 2023.
  16. ^ 延安城市介绍以及气候背景分析. Weather China (in Chinese). 中国气象局公共气象服务中心. Retrieved July 27, 2015.
  17. ^ a b c d 延安市2018年国民经济和社会发展统计公报 [zh:Yan'an 2018 Economic and Social Development Annual Report]. www.cnstats.org (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 2020-08-15. Retrieved 2021-05-14.
  18. ^ "Changqing Oil & Gas Province". cnpc.com.cn. China National Petroleum Corporation. Archived from the original on 2021-01-28. Retrieved 2021-05-14.
  19. ^ a b 延安市2018年国民经济和社会发展统计公报_中国统计信息网. www.cnstats.org. Retrieved 2020-04-19.

External links[edit]