Shanxi is in the middle reaches of Huang He (Yellow River). Located to the west of the Taihang range of mountain, it is so named Shanxi (west of the mountain) which makes it easy to distinguish from its neighbour Shaanxi. The total area of the province is 156,000 sq km with 31.4 million in population.
Shanxi has rich cultural and historical sites. After Qin Shihuang unified Chinese states, Shanxi became one of the earliest centres of Chinese culture and civilization, whose northern area became a defensive bulwark against marauding tribes from the north and west. During the Sui and the Tang dynasties (chao) it once developed as a financial center. Pinyao, one of the four best-preserved ancient cities in China, is the highlights of Shanxi. Mt. Wutai, one of the sacred Buddhist mountains with picturesque natural scenery is situated here. The splendid Yungang Grottoes and 1400-year-old Hanging Monastery are also the attractions in Shanxi.
One third of all China’s coal reserves are in this province, which is also rich in iron, cobalt, bauxite and aluminum. The mineral and ore resources make Taiyuan, it’s capital, the major industrial centre.