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Taiyuan, the capital city of Shanxi Province, is rich in political, military, and religious history. The region in northern part of China is well known for its Buddhist and Taoist sites, including the famous Mt. Wutai and the Taoist temples.
As for the history of Taiyuan, it was a small settlement founded some 2,400 years ago and was known as Jinyang. Its location in a valley near the Fen River put it near the invasion routes from the nomadic regions in the north to the agricultural heartland near the Yellow River. The founder of the Tang dynasty, Li Yuan, used this area as a base for the peasant uprising that overthrew the Sui regime in the early 7th century. Jinyang was destroyed in 979 by the forces of Song dynasty, and was rebuilt three years later.
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Starting in 1375 in the early Ming dynasty, the town became the seat of government for this region and was expanded greatly.
In the 19th century, English, French, and Russian invaders had exploited the region's mineral resources on a large scale as the area is rich with coal - mines. At the end of Qing dynasty after 1911, Taiyuan was governed by the powerful warlord, Yan Xishan until 1949, by the time of new China founded. Taiyuan is now a major industrial city in northern China, especially for the coal production. It is also one of the attractive tourist cities where both the natural scenery and the typical residential architecture are well combined.

Jinci Temple

Jinci," the ancient Buddhist temple, is located at the source of the Jin River by Xuanwang Hill 25km southwest of Taiyuan. It was originally built in 1023 of the Song dynasty, but countless additions and restorations were made over the centuries. Entering the temple, the first major structure you will see is the Mirror Terrace. This is a Ming building that was once used as an open-air theatre. To the west of the Mirror Terrace is the Zhibo's Canal runing through the temple complex. Above the canal is the Huixian Bridge which provides the access to the "Terrace of the Four Iron Statutes" cast in 1097 AD. There is a Bell Tower and a Drum Tower built in front of the Xian Hall. This hall used to display sacrificial offerings and was built during the Jin Dynasty (1168 AD). To the west of this hall is the Fish Pond.
Inside of the Nanlao and Shanli Fountains, are 42 colored clay figures of maidservants standing around a large seated statue of the "Sacred Lady". This figure is said to be the mother of Prince Shuyu of the ancient Zhou nynasty. The ages, shapes, faces, expressions of the characters are all quite different. In the southern part of the temple is the Sacred Pagoda, a seven-storied octagonal building constructed at the end of the 7th century. Jinci Temple is one of the popular parks near the city and attracts many people on holidays.

Twin Pagoda Temple (Shuangta Si)

Twin Pagoda Temple, the symbol of Taiyuan, dates back to the Ming Dynasty. Each pagoda is an octagon with 13 stories, almost 55 meters high. They are built entirely of bricks and carved to resemble ancient Chinese wooden pagodas. Inside the courtyard, samples of the famous handwritings of Chinese ancient calligraphers can be seen, and in front of the main hall, cloves and peony blossoms in the spring. These beautiful flowers make the old temple more elegant and attractive during the tourist seasons.


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