Taiyuan

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Taiyuan, capital of Shanxi Province.

Taiyuan (太原), the capital of Shanxi Province, is bounded on three sides by mountains. It has a 2500-year history and in ancient times was an important military town. Now it is one of China's heavy industrial cities and accounts for more than half the national coal mining output.

The city also has a wealth of attractions and notably among these is the Jinci Temple. This is the city's most attractive temple although the Shuangta Si (Twin-Pagoda Temple) has become a symbol of the city on account of its unique architecture. Another major attraction is the Tianlong Shan Stone Caves where magnificent sculptures dating from the Tang Dynasty (618-907) may be seen.

Taiyuan benefits from convenient public transport systems as the city is the provincial transportation hub. Accommodation facilities have become more and more advanced over recent years and range from 5-star hotels to a selection of comfortable guest houses.

The gourmand should be aware that Shanxi noodles are highly reputed all over the country, as well as the local vinegar. Other local delicacies are the Tou Nao, the Steamed Dumpling, Sausages and Mutton Soup. To accompany these wholesome foods there are Fen Jiu (Fen Wine) and Zhuye Qing (Zhuye Qing Wine). As well as its cuisine the city is noted for products such as finely crafted lacquer ware.