History of Shanxi
Shanxi Province got its name due to its location to the west of Taihang Mountain. Shanxi neighbored on Hebei, Henan, Shaanxi and Inner Mongolia & Autonomous Region. It is located to the east of the Yellow River, and is also known as Hedong. Shanxi belonged to Jin State in Spring and Autumn Period, so it is abbreviated in Jin. Shanxi occupies an area of 156,000 square kilometers (about 60,000 square miles) and has a population of over 32 million, including its minority ethnic population. Its capital is Taiyuan City.
Shanxi is one of the birth places of Chinese civilizations with a long history and traditional culture. As early as one hundred million years ago, the ancestors of the Chinese lived and propagated in this region. Legend tells us that the Yellow Emperor, founder of the Chinese nation, once lived in Shanxi for a certain period. Today, many Neolithic sites from that period can still be seen dotted across the vast expanse of the province.
Chinese Ancient Architecutre Museum
Shanxi is endowed with an abundance of cultural sites from its long history. Most of the ancient structures were built before the Liao and Song Dynasties. So it is the reason why Shanxi is often called the 'Chinese Ancient Architecture Museum'. The more obvious of these include: the Buddhist wonder of the Yungang Grottoes in Datong City, the Ancient City of Pingyao which was listed as a World Cultural Heritage site by UNESCO in 1997, the oldest and tallest ancient wooden pagoda in China, the Wooden Pagoda of Yingxian County and the remote Shuanglin Temple and Jinci Temple, which are well worth the long journeys for the visitors.
Of course, there are a number of natural magnificent and beautiful places that can also be seen in Shanxi. The most famous of them include Wutai Mountain with the longest and most prestigious history in the four most well-known Buddhist holy lands of China, the whistling rage of the Yellow River's Kettle Spout waterfalls (Hukou Waterfalls) and one of the Five Sacred Mountains in China - Mt. Hengshan.
The Ching Dynasty Era would become the Golden Age of Shanxi Province and the small City of Pingyao in particular. Already rich and nationally powerful traders the 1727 Treaty of Cakurtu, opening up trade with Russia provided another Golden Opportunity for the Shanxi Traders. The new Tea Trade with Russia, soon dubbed the Tea Road was soon monopolized by the Shanxi Traders, bringing a staggering 19% of China's imports and exports under their control. The Last and possibly most impressive economic and culutural contribution delivered by the Shanxi Merchants was the Invention and Establishment of the First National Drafts Bank, by Shanxi Trader Wei Lutai from Pingyao in Shanxi.