| Shanxi, literally meaning west of the mountains,
was named for its location - west of the Taihang Mountains. Shanxi, a
province situated on a loess plateau, is one of the cradles of Chinese
civilization. Occupying 156,000 square kilometers, it makes up 1.65 percent
of the country's total area. Most of this area stands 1,000 meters above
sea level, and hilly land accounts for 70 percent. The population of the
province is nearing 30 million.
Shanxi is demarcated by mountains, the Taihang Mountains in the east, the Luliang Mountains in the west, the Hengshan and Wutai mountains in the north, the Zhongtiao Mountains in the south, and the Taiyue Mountains in the center. The crisscrossing rugged ranges of mountains are splendid and imposing.
Shanxi has six large basins - Datong, Xinzhou, Taiyuan, Linfen, Yuncheng and Changzhi - and small basins scattered around the province, including Yangquan, Shouyang, Xiangyuan, Licheng and Jincheng.
The province is also crosscut by numerous rivers from the two large water systems of the Yellow and Haihe rivers.
Shanxi enjoys a long history and a reputation for a rich culture. Zaju Opera was very popular in Shanxi during the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368). In the southwest of the province, stages and frescoes depicting operas of the Yuan Dynasty still remain. They reflect the golden age of opera. Today the province is still called "the art museum of ancient times," for its splendid Yellow River culture that was developed in the ancient land of Shanxi.
Shanxi is one of China's provinces that has the most historic sites. Besides the great cultural sites, the province boasts beautiful natural scenery and unique folk customs. The magnificent residences of merchants in the past are architectural masterpieces, which represent the culture of the province. Shanxi boasts a variety of cuisines. Their food made of wheat flour is well known both at home and abroad. Hence the name "hometown of wheat food".
Shanxi is opening its door wider and wider. It welcomes domestic and
foreign visitors, hoping they can know more about the province through
contact with the vibrant cultural atmosphere and visit to historic sites,
thus making the treasures of the province the common property of all
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