Taiyuan (Chinese: 太原; pinyin: Tàiyuán [tʰâi.ɥɛ̌n], also known as Bīng (并), Jìnyáng (晋阳)) is the capital and largest city of Shanxi province in North China] It is one of the main manufacturing bases of China. Throughout its long history, Taiyuan was the capital or provisional capital of many dynasties in China, hence the name Lóngchéng (龙城, "Dragon City").
Etymology and names
The two Chinese characters of the city's name are 太 (tài, "great") and 原 (yuán, "plain"), referring to the location where the Fen River leaves the mountains and enters a relatively flat plain. Throughout its long history, the city had various names, including Bīngzhōu (并州) (from which the city's abbreviated single-character name Bīng (并) is derived), Jìnyáng (晋阳) and Lóngchéng (龙城).
During the Tang dynasty (唐朝) and subsequent Five Dynasties (五代), the status of the city of Taiyuan was elevated to be the Northern Capital, hence the name Běidū (北都), and Běijīng (北京, different from present-day Beijing).
Taiyuan is an ancient city with more than 2500 years of urban history, dating back from 497 BC. It was the capital or secondary capital (陪都, 别都) of Zhao, Former Qin, Eastern Wei, Northern Qi, Northern Jin, Later Tang, Later Jin, Later Han, Northern Han. Its strategic location and rich history make Taiyuan one of the economic, political, military, and cultural centers of Northern China.
Taiyuan is one of the major industrial cities of China and lies on the Fen River in the north of its fertile upper basin. It is located in central Shanxi and commands the north-south route through the province, as well as important natural lines of communication through the Taihang Mountains to Hebei in the east and (via Fenyang) to northern Shaanxi in the west. The city is located at the center of the province with an East-West span of 144 km and a North-South span of 107 km.
Taiyuan experiences a semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSk). Spring is dry, with occasional dust storms, followed by early summer heat waves. Summer tends to be warm to hot with most of the year's rainfall concentrated in July and August. Winter is long and cold, but dry and sunny. Because of the aridity, there tends to be considerable diurnal variation in temperature, except during the summer. The weather is much cooler than comparable-latitude cities, such as Shijiazhuang, due to the moderately high altitude. The monthly 24-hour average temperature range from −5.5 °C (22.1 °F) in January to 23.4 °C (74.1 °F) in July, while the annual mean is 9.96 °C (49.9 °F). With monthly percent possible sunshine ranging from 51 percent in July to 61 percent in May, there are 2,502 hours of sunshine annually.