Shanxi Province, abbreviated as Jin, is situated in nouthern China, and adjacent to Hebei, Henan, Inner Mongolia and Shaanxi. It is so called for its location on the west side of Taihang Mountains. Covering an area of over 150000 square kilometers, Shanxi has a population of 32.97 million, which embraces the Hans, Huis, Mongolians, and other people. Taiyuan is the capital city.
Shanxi on eastern side of the middle reaches of the Yellow River has an average altitude of 1000 meters, and mountain make up 70% of the total area of the province, so it is generally known as the Shanxi Plateau. The main mountains in the province are Taihang, Luliang, Zhongtiao and the famous Buddhist Mountain—Wutai Mountain.
Shanxi is a province with many historical sites and cultural relics, as well as scenic areas. Datong, Pingyao, Xinjiang, Daixian are listed as the national historical and cultural. Main tourist spots are: world cultural heritages sites—Ancient City of Pingyao and the Yungang Grottoes; scenic spots of Wutai Mountain, Hengshan, and Hukou Waterfalls of the Yellow River; cultural and historical sites such as Jin Shrine in Taiyuan, Shuanglin Temple in Pingyao, Wooden Pagoda of Yingxian, Huayan Temple in Hunyuan, Niangzi, Pingxiang, and Yanmen passes of the Great Wall.
The Yungang Grottoes, one of the largest grottoes in China, lies on the Mount Wuzhou in Datong city. Consisting of a number of honeycomb-shaped grottoes, it was carved into the sloped of the mountain, extending about one kilometer from east to west. With the construction of it beginning in 453, the grottoes have a history of more than 1500 years. There are 53 caves, over 1100 Buddhist niches, and 51000 sculptures altogether. In 2001, UNESCO added it on the List of World Heritage.
The Ancient City of Pingyao
Situated in the middle of Shanxi Province, Pingyao has a history of over 2700 years. It was firstly built during the Zhou Dynasty (1066BC-220BC), and was expanded in 1370, the third year of the reign period of Ming Emperor Hongwu. It is the earlist and largest ancient city in China, and reputed as "the History Museum of Architectural Art of the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
The Jin Shrine stands at the foot of Xuanweng Mountain, 25 kilometers southwest of Taiyuan. It was built in memory of Shu Yu, the founding ruler of the State of Jin. The Jin Shrine is famous for its scenic beauty. All building in the shrine were laid out ingeniously and surrounded by ancient trees. In the Hall of Holy Mother are 43 statues of young maids sculptured in the Song Dynasty. The statues, the pines planted during the Zhou Dynasty and the Nanlao Spring are known as the three rarities of the Jin Shrine.
Located in the northwest of Wutai County, the Mountain is one of the Four Most Famous Buddhist Mountains in China. It consists of five plat-like peaks, hence the name. the highest peak, North Plat, has an altitude of 3058 meters, so it is nicknamed as the "Roof of North China". As early as during the Eastern Han Dynasty, there were temples built here. The 47 temples and the monasteries existing at present, built in different dynasties and in various styles, have turned the Wutai Mountain into a center of activities for Chinese Buddhist.