During the 2500-year history, Taiyuan used to be the homeland of Tangyao, a famous city in the period of War States, the ancient state of Taiyuan, the capital of Bei Dynasty, the north capital of the emperor, the north gate of Middle China, a key town in Jiubian and also the homeland of Jin merchants, as a poem says, “Cross the Sanggan River for another time and look back at Bingzhou, it is really like my hometown”. The great poet Yuan Haowen in Jin Dynasty wrote a very famous poet on the bank of Fen River---“What is love, something we could die for”, which makes the city a little more romantic in addition to its solemn royal atmosphere. Chongshan Temple, Chunyang Palace and Temple of Confucius stand next to each other. The harmonious coexistence of various religions reflects the tolerance of the city. Here in Taiyuan you can enjoy the beauty of the mountains and rivers, appreciate the red leaves on Mount Juewei and the moon at dawn on Mount Meng. Here in Taiyuan--- the modern city, you can walk on the wide roads, watch the thriving business and visit the prosperous business street Liuxiang. You can also taste the delicious food, take a dip of the old vinegar and wine and have a bowl of noodles. Then you will feel as if the flavor of Taiyuan would stay in you mouth forever. As long as you have been to Taiyuan, you will be deeply absorbed in its eternal beauty.
Figure 1: Taiyuan
A brand-new Datong appears after a combination of the modern atmosphere and the ancient civilization. The grand Huanyan Temple and Shanhua Temple built in Liao and Jin Dynasties stand still surrounded by the high ancient walls. Yungang Grottoes demonstrate the spectacular scene of “temples and towers on the mountains and along the rivers” in the ancient time. Outside the ancient walls, the skyrocketing buildings will refresh your eyes with a new city look. Datong, which used to be the capital of Beiwei Dynasty, capital of Liao and Jin Dynasties and key towns of Ming and Qing Dynasties, has become a modern city from the power center of nomads. You can feel its unique charm if you come to this city.
Figure 2: Yungang Grottoes
A folk song called Go to West Gate reflects the suffering and difficulties of many Shanxi people who used to leave their hometown and created their careers. The old bricks on the firm great wall of Tiger-kill Pass have recorded the deep love of those Shanxi people for the homeland. The rocketing Shaka Pagoda of Fogong Temple has kept many expectations of Qidan people for the civilization of the Han nationality. The ancient city of Guangwu with strong defense preparations has witnessed a lot of fights between Han nationality and nomads. The Guangwu Han Tomb group tells us that those ordinary people used to try so hard to defend the territory of Han Dynasty. Shuozhou, a famous ancient city, not only presents us with grand beautiful ancient buildings and the black treasures underground, but also the profound history of national integration of China. The city is open to you.
Figure 6: Youyu
f you want to visit Mount Wutai which is one of the four famous Buddhism mountains, you must know Xinzhou. If you have heard about Yanmen Pass of the great wall, you must know Xinzhou. If you know about the warlord Yan Xishan who was called local tyrant of Shanxi and ruled Shanxi for 38 years, you must know Xinzhou. Xinzhou not only has dangerous passes and crosses but also is a great place with talented people. It has always been the place merchants do business and the military forces compete for. Xinzhou has a profound culture and long history traditional art. Xinzhou has a long revolution history and used to be the birthplace and key place of Jinchaji and Jinsui revolutionary bases. Xinzhou is called the lock of the north of Jin.
Figure 9: Mount Wutai
here used to be five springs in this area which covers about 4570 square kilometers. The springs are pouring constantly and fertilize this area, so the springs are also called Springs of Pouring(referring to 漾 in Chinese) and are later changed into Springs of Yang.
Yangquan city has a long history and is located in the key area of three parts of Jin with a very dangerous terrain for which the military forces used to compete. Here you can see the high Shinao Mountain and Tao River. The key location as the east gate of Shanxi province, Yangquan used to be defended by a courageous woman warrior, so when it comes to Yangquan the first place that will impress you is Niangzi Pass (Niangzi refers to a woman in ancient Chinese)---the ninth pass in China. The story of the orphan of Zhao that happened in Yangquan during the period of Spring and Autumn and War States attracts a lot of tourists to Cang Mountain where the orphan was hidden. The monument of One Hundred Regiments Battle on the main peak of Shinao Mountain stands for the largest and longest battle in the eighth route army’s anti-Japanese war in Huabei area which has left a deep mark in the history of PRC. The ancient key dangerous passes have been gradually dimmed in the history and been replaced by an important industrial city of Shanxi province.Now the residents of Niangzi Pass will welcome you very warmly if you go there. There you can mill the corn four by yourself and feel the unique charm of “Little Jiangnan” on the Loess Plateau.
Figure 3:Cang Mountain
Jinzhong is a geographic concept which means it is the central part of Shanxi province. The terrain of the east part is higher than that of the west part. The main peak of Mount Taihang is in the east of it and half of Taiyuan Basin is in the west of it. The oldest agricultural culture of the Yellow River Valley started here and as early as in the period of Yangshao Culture, the agriculture entered the more advanced period of planting crops with iron farming tools from the primitive agriculture of planting after burning the grass. However, Jinzhong became well-known from the beginning of Ming Dynasty to the early Republic of China. Jin merchants represented by those in Pingyao, Taigu and Qi County, as the pioneers of finance in China used to rank ahead in China and create the unprecedented prosperity which made the culture of Jin merchants known to all the county. The campaign of “Learning Dazhai in Agriculture” in the last century reflected the development and changes of the rural areas of China after the foundation of new China and undertook the Chinese farmers’ dreams for well-being and rich life. Now the newly-rising Jinzhong is open to you and expect you to come very enthusiastically.
Figure 7: Pingyao Ancient City
When you read the poem “where is there an inn, the cowboy points to Xinghuacun”, can you feel the tender rain of Xinghuacun and smell the fragrance of Fen wine? Can a shout while pulling the ship from the river to the bank remind you of the past of Qikou of the Yellow River which used to be very prosperous with a great many shops? Can a prayer of Namo Amitabha inspire your expectation for the sacredness of Buddhism in Xuanzhong Temple? Can the inscription of Chairman Mao “Born great and Die Honorable” make you feel the inspiring power of the spirit of Liu Hulan? Since the ancient time, many great figures and heroes have constantly appeared on Mount Taihang and in Lvliang. The war fire has gone for so long, but the unyielding revolutionary spirit of the Lvliang people will last forever.
Figure 11: the North Wudang Mountains
Changzhi is located in the top of Mount Taihang with the highest altitude as if it could touch the sky, and therefore it was called Shangdang in the ancient time. Also it has always been called “Ridge of China”. With a long history and civilization, it is like a pearl on Mount Taihang with high and steep mountains. You cannot only see the beauty of the grand mountains and rivers, but also can feel the pure spirits of the local people here. The wonderful mountains and rivers of Changzhi combine the features of the south and north of China. The beauty of the mountains and rivers and the prosperous culture here appeal to the wise people. The local customs of Changzhi are enthusiastic but simple and the folklore culture rooted in the low social class has preserved many cultural essences of the Chinese people. The local specialties of Changzhi used to be offered to the king in the ancient time in addition to accompanying the ordinary people for so many years. The revolution success in Changzhi ignited the patriotic passion of the people in Shangdang to defend our country. You come and stay in Changzhi for some time, give yourself an
opportunity to go back to the history and fight for our country in uniform.
Figure 4:Tanghang Watertown
This is an ancient but young place which is located in the southeast part of Shanxi province and in the center of Zezhou Basin. It has a long history which according to the historical records can date back to the period of “Three Kings”. Now you can still see the sites where Xuanyuan asked the way and the emperor Yao ruled and the emperor Yu expanded the territory. Jincheng is located in the joint of Mount Taihang, Wangwu Mountain and Zhongtiao Mountain and also the dividing crest of Huabei Plain and Loess Plateau. Hence a quite rare natural geographic scene has been formed here. Here you can watch the beautiful scenes of the grand Mount Taihang, the thick primitive forests and unique rock caves and attractive rivers and waterfalls. Here you can see the largest karst cave group---Baiyun Cave, the largest ecological tourism spot Wangmang Ridge, the birthplace of Weiqi(a Chinese chess game), the well-known hanging road of Xiya valley and Changping ancient battlefield in Gaoping. When you climb to the top of Wangmang Ridge and watch Mount Taihang, you will feel the mountains with frog and clouds flowing around are like a Chinese wash painting. The Royal Prime Minister’s Palace reflects the prosperous imperial examination system here which used to witness the appearance of many talented people. It can be called the cultural giant of north China. Jincheng is the best example to interpret the greatness of place with talented people.
Figure 5: Royal Prime Minister's Palace
A folk song which said, “If you ask me where is my hometown, I will say the giant locust tree of Hongdong county in Shanxi”tells us that Linfen used to be the homeland of most Chinese people. A piece of Beijing opera which said, “Susan left Hongdong County and walked on the street” tells us the story happened in Linfen of Shanxi province. Linfen is not only the oldest city of China but also the place where the Chinese people look for their roots. The thriving giant locust tree is what those Shanxi people outside Shanxi province always keep in mind. The vigorous Hukou Waterfall bears the deep feelings of the Chinese people for China. Linfen, a place you cannot ignore.
Figure 10: Hukou Waterfall
Yuncheng is worth your visit for many reasons. The Chinese civilization took root in Yuncheng and then cultivated brilliant Hedong culture which has lasted for thousands of years. It is said that you can truly feel the origin of the Chinese civilization when you are in Yuncheng. Considering the history and culture of Yuncheng, you can see that Shun who plowed in Mount Li, Yu who carved in Longmen, Houji who farmed and Leizu who fed silkworm started the Chinese culture. The wise emperor Yushun played the five-string musical instrument and sang the oldest Chinese song Lyrics for South Wind “the warm south wind can make my people happy; the timely south wind can make my people have a well-being life”. He led the Chinese people to create better life here. When you come to Yuncheng, you can show your honor to the Saint of War Guanyu in the Temple of Guanyu; you can go to Pujiu Temple where the romantic story of Cui Yingying and Zhangsheng happened; you can climb to Stork Tower to appreciate the grand Hedong Plain; you can go to Pujin Cross Site and be surprised to see the advanced development of ironing technology; you can appreciate amazing wall paintings of Yuan Dynasty in Yongle Palace. Besides, there are more beautiful things which are waiting for you to explore.
Figure 8: Guan Yu Temple