Linfen is a prefecture-level city in southern Shanxi province, People's Republic of China. It is situated along the banks of the Fen River. It has an area of 20,275 square kilometres (7,828 sq mi) and according to the 2010 Census, a population of 4,316,612 inhabitants of which 944,050 live in the built-up (or metro) area made up of Yaodu urban district. GDP of Linfen ranked second in Shanxi Province It was known as Pingyang (平陽) during the Spring and Autumn period. In 2006, the American Blacksmith Institute listed Linfen as one of the ten most polluted cities in the world.
Prior to 1978, Linfen was famous for its spring water, greenery and rich agriculture and therefore nicknamed "The Modern Fruit and Flower Town". Since then it has been developing into a main industrial centre for coal mining, which has significantly damaged the city's environment, air quality, farming, health and its previous status as a green village.
Chinese archeologists have claimed that Yao's capital was located in Linfen, a confirmation of local legend responsible for the name of the city's Yaodu District. So, Linfen city is the earliest capital of China.
The area was the center of the marchland and duchy of Jin, named for the Jin River (晋水). The duchy collapsed in the 4th century bc but gave its name to a Chinese princely title used as the dynastic name of the Sima clan. Jin Prefecture was centered on the town, which took its name as Jin and Jinzhou. Later, it was renamed Pingyang Commandery, which was also adapted as the name for its chief town. The Xiongnu Chanyu Liu Cong made Pingyang his residence in the fourth century. "He kept court at Pingyang in [Shanxi] and ruled over central and southern [Shanxi], over [Shaanxi] (except for the Han basin), northern [Henan] (except for Kaifeng), southern [Hebei], and northern [Shandong]." In the 10th century, the city's walls were considered "fortified beyond approach".
In the 1980s, Linfen was nicknamed[by whom?] "The Modern Fruit and Flower Town".
Linfen is located in the southwestern part of Shanxi, on the lower reaches of the Fen River, bounded by Changzhi and Jincheng to the east, the Yellow River to the west (which also forms the border with Shaanxi), Jinzhong and Lüliang to the north, and Yuncheng to the south. The prefecture ranges in latitude from 35° 23′ N to 36° 37′ N, spanning 170 kilometres (110 mi), and in longitude from 110° 22′ E to 112° 34′ E, spanning 200 km (120 mi). In all, the city's administrative area, at 20,275 square kilometres (7,828 sq mi), covers 13% of the province's area.
Within its borders Linfen City has a variety of topographical features. It ischaracterised as having a "U" shape, with its mountains, covering 29.2% of the prefectural area, on all four cardinal directions, a basin, the Linfen Basin (临汾盆地), covering 19.4%, in the middle, and intervening hills, covering 51.4%, in between. In the east, from north to south, are Mount Huo (霍山) and the Zhongtiao Mountains; in the west are the Lüliang Mountains, with elevations mostly above 1,000 metres (3,300 ft). The highest point in the prefecture is the main peak of Mount Huo, at 2,347 metres (7,700 ft), and the lowest is in Xiangning County, at 385 metres (1,263 ft). Important rivers in the area include the Yellow, Fen, Xinshui (昕水河), Qin (沁河), Hui (浍河), E (鄂河), and Qingshui Rivers (清水河).
The whole prefecture-level city features a great variety of terrain. The city itself sits in a basin, which aggravates the pollution.
Linfen has a continental, monsoon-influenced semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk), with moderately cold, but dry winters, and hot, somewhat humid summers. The monthly 24-hour average temperature ranges from −2.7 °C (27.1 °F) in January to 26.1 °C (79.0 °F) in July, and the annual mean is 12.6 °C (54.7 °F). The annual precipitation stands at 470 millimetres (18.5 in), with close to 70% of this total falling from June to September. The frost-free period lasts on average 190 days per year. Extreme temperatures have ranged from −22.5 °C (−8.5 °F) to 40.5 °C (104.9 °F).