Taizhou (Chinese: 泰州; pinyin: Tàizhōu) is a prefecture-level city in central Jiangsu Province in eastern China. Situated on the north bank of the Yangtze River, it borders Nantong to the east, Yancheng to the north and Yangzhou to the west.
The 2010 census counted its population at 4,618,937 of whom 1,607,108 live in the built-up (or metro) area made of three urban districts, (Hailing, Jiangyan and Gaogang).Two county-level cities have more than 1 million inhabitants, Xinghua with 1,253,548 inhabitants and Taixing with 1,073,921 inhabitants, comprising two of the most important county-level cities in China. Hu Jintao, former General Secretary of the Communist Party of China considered Taizhou his home town as did Mei Lanfang, one of the most famous Peking opera artists in modern Chinese history.
Taizhou City has a long history and was first known as "Hǎiyáng" (海阳/海陽) in the Spring and Autumn period; it was later called "Hǎilíng" (海陵) during the Western Han Dynasty. It became Hailing County in 117 B.C. and was famous during the Eastern Jin Dynasty on a par with Jinling (Nanjing) and Guangling (Yangzhou), Lanling (Changzhou). During the Southern Tang Dynasty it was named "Taizhou Prefecture", which means 'Peaceful country and lucky citizens' a name it has kept for 2,100 years.
Taizhou became independent of its larger neighbour Yangzhou in the 10th century AD. Under the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), the salt trade was centered here, and like Yangzhou, Taizhou was the home of many wealthy salt merchants. In 1952, the construction of a new canal and ship locks linked Taizhou with the Yangzi River.
With a history of over 2100 years, Taizhou has enjoyed the reputation of being the "Ancient County of the Han and Tang Dynasties and the Famous District Alongside the Coast of the Yellow Sea". Through the ages, it has seen gatherings of many talented people and famous merchants. Taizhou has always been a political, economic, cultural and transportation center in Central Jiangsu Province. The hometown of great artistic Masters like Shi Nai'an, Zheng Banqiao, and Mei Lanfang, etc., Taizhou is also the birthplace of the Navy of Chinese People's Liberation Army. Taizhou is now one of the famous historical and cultural cities of Jiangsu Province.
Taizhou lies at the confluence of the Yangtze River and the Jinghang Canal (Grand Canal of China), in the south-central Jiangsu Province, which is on the north bank of lower reaches of the Yangtze River, the south end of Jianghuai Plain. Its latitude ranges from about 32° 02′ — 33°11′ N and longitude 119° 38′ — 120° 32′ E, with a total area of 5,793 square kilometres (2,237 sq mi).
Neighbouring Areas: Yangzhou to the west, Nantong to the east, and Yancheng to the north.