Taiyuan, China, the capital of Shanxi province. It lies in the fertile Fen River valley, some 240 miles (390 km) southwest of Beijing. Coal, iron ore, and other nearby resources have helped make the city one of China's principal centers of heavy industry. Taiyuan's growth has been especially rapid since the early 1950's. Attractions include the Jin temples and gardens and the Shanxi Museum.

Though of ancient origin, Taiyuan was of little importance until the eighth century A.D., when it became a fortified city. The original walled city was destroyed during a siege in the late 10th century. Taiyuan was rebuilt near the original site and was made the capital of Shanxi province in the 15th century. From 1912 to 1947 the city was called Yangku.

Population: 2,415,000.