Introduction to Shanxi
The province of Shanxi, situated on the Loess Plateau in the middle reaches of the Yellow River in northern China, borders Hebei Province in the east and Shaanxi Province in the west and is connected to Henan Province in the south and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in the north. Under the jurisdiction of the Jin State during the Spring and Autumn Period (770 – 476 BC), the province is also called Jin for short. Within its territory of 156,300 square kilometers are diverse landforms, such as mountains, hills, plateaus, basins and mesas. Most parts of Shanxi are mountainous highlands 1,000 – 2,000 meters above sea level. It is surrounded by mountains, including the Taihang Mountain in the east, Lǔliang Mountain in the west, Hengshan and Wutai Mountains in the north, Zhongtiao Mountain in the south and Taiyue Mountain in the center. Two major rivers, Fenhe and Haihe, flow through the province. Shanxi features a warm – temperate and temperate continental climate. There are living 35 ethnic groups, with a total population of over 33 million, of which 99.75 percent are the Han people. Shanxi abounds in wildlife and mineral resources. Particularly it tops the nation in coal reserves, hence its reputation as the Home of Coal. Its capital city, Taiyuan, is an open city of inland China.
As one of the birthplaces of Chinese civilization, Shanxi also abounds in tourism resources. There are 271 cultural sites under state class protection, accounting for 11.5 percent of their kind throughout China. Two of them have been listed as World Cultural Heritages, including the Yungang Grottos and Pingyao Ancient City. There are also five cities of historic and cultural significance, including Datong, Daixian, Pingyao, Qixian and Xinjiang. About 70 percent of China’s ancient wooden architectures dating back to the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279) and earlier are located in the province.
Shanxi is a place that boasts the most splendid Buddhist traditions in China. The province’s Wutai Mountain is known as one of the Four Most Famous Buddhist Mountains in China. Shanxi is also the birthplace of banking in China, evidenced by many famous residential compounds of Shanxi merchant families (including Wang’s, Qiao’s, Qu’s, Cao’s and Chang’s) and the Rishengchang Bank. As the ancestral home of the Chinese nation, Shanxi is where many Chinese surnames originated, and their descendants have spread around the country and even the world. It is also home to countless celebrities. Almost every county in Shanxi has its own folk music and dances. Therefore, Shanxi has been reputed as the Museum of Ancient Chinese Architecture, the Home of Banking in China, the Birthplace of Traditional Chinese Operas, the Ocean of Folk Songs, and the Home of Folk Dances.
Moreover, Shanxi boasts magnificent and picturesque natural scenery. There are five state – class scenic resorts and 18 national forest parks. Local famous scenic spots include the Taihang Canyon, the sea of forests on Guancen Mountain, the Heavenly Lake, the 10,000 Year – Old Ice Cave, Mianshan Mountain and Hukou Waterfall, as well as Hengshan and Lishan Mountains.
Jin Ancestral Temple
First built during the Northern Wei Dynasty (386 - 534), the Jin Ancestral Temple lies at the foot of Xuanweng Mountain, 25 kilometers southwest of Taiyaun City. Reputed as the Lesser Jiangnan, it is a rare classical garden with picturesque scenery. Its essential scenic spots include the Saint Mother Hall, Figures of Maidservants, Flying Bridge over the Fish Pond, Never Aging Spring, etc. Known as the “Three Wonders of the Jin Ancestral Tmple”, the Zhou Cypress and Sui Scholar Tree, Never Aging Spring and Figures of Maidservants boast high historic, scientific and artistic value.
Coal Museum of China
Located on Yingze Avenue in Taiyuan City, the Coal Museum of China is the only state – class museum focusing on coal mining. Displayed here is an exhibition named “Exploring the Mystical Coal Mine”. In addition, the 4D Dynamic Cinema and the Simulated Mine, known as the only of its kind in China and the largest around the world, are two major attractions in the museum. There is also the Shanxi Ancient Mural Hall that houses a multitude of elaborately – reproduced murals from ancient Shanxi.
Donghu Vinegar Garden
Located at 26 Madaopo between Dongshan Expressway and Jianshe North Road in Taiyuan City, the Donghu Vinegar Garden develops from the time – honored Meiheju Vinegar Shop. As Shanxi’s earliest museum displaying the production and culture of vinegar products, it has been cited as a national demonstration of industrial and agricultural tourism. Its exhibition hall houses various vinegar – producing instruments and farming appliances, and in its vinegar therapy garden are collected more than 700 vinegar medication prescriptions.
Lying on the west bank of the Fenhe River in Taiyuan City, it is a modern multipurpose museum that covers 0.112 square kilometers. Its main building resembles an ancient – style container that symbolizes abundance and peace. As the largest exhibition center for cultural relic collection, protection and research throughout Shanxi Province, it houses more than 200,000 pieces of historical relics and the province’s latest archeological findings, showcasing the long history and brilliant culture of Shanxi Province.
Lying at the foot of Wuzhou Mountain, 16 kilometers west of Datong City, the Yungang Grottos, together with the Dunhuang Grottos and Longmen Grottos, are referred to as the Three Most Famous Grottos of China, and have been put onto the World Heritage List. Spanning a kilometer from west to east, the Yungang Grottos consist of 45 caves and 1,100 niches that contain more than 50,000 stone statues. The No. 3 Grotto is the biggest one, while the sitting statue of Buddha is the largest sculpture in Yungang. The best – preserved No. 6 Grotto houses the most superb sculptures. Popularly called Wuhua Caves, the No. 9 – No. 13 Grottos feature diverse subjects and high artistic value.
Nine – Dragon Screen
Located on the south side of Dadong Street, Datong City, the color – glazed Nine – Dragon Screen faces the north and is the largest of its kind in China. The entire screen consists of a pedestal, a body and a roof. On both sides of the roof ridge are flower and dragon relieves. The body contains nine mighty dragons laid with 426 glazed bricks in yellow, green, blue, purple, black or white. The pedestal has images of Chinese unicorns, lions, tigers, deer and flying horses.
Situated on the Daxi Street in the heart of Datong, the Huayan Temple comprises two sections: The upper one is referred to as the Grand Hall. Known as one of the largest Buddhist hall in China, the Grand Hall houses 21 huge colored frescos. The Datong Museum is located at the upper section. Along the inside wall of the Sutra Hall are 38 wood – carved cabins for sutra collection. There are also preserved 31 statues from the Liao Dynasty (907 - 1125), of which the most spectacular are the statues of Goddess of Mercy and Samantabhadra Bodhisattva. The temple’s buildings, sculptures, murals, niches and ceilings represent splendid civilization of the Liao Dynasty.
Situated in Hunyuan County, Datong City, the Hanging Temple is hung on the steep cliff at Jinlongkou of Hengshan Mountain. Known far and near for its magnificence, precipice and oddness, the temple faces the Tianfeng Range and leans against the Cuiping Mountain. As a wonder of human architecture, it is ranked first among the 18 Spectacular Views of Hengshan Mountain. The well – designed temple boasts buildings that are constructed along the terrain. Most buildings supported by columns against rocks in back are hung in the air, composing a breathtaking spectacle.
Ancient Great Wall
The Great Wall runs 335 kilometers in Datong, most of which was constructed during the Ming Dynasty. Along the section of the Great Wall are Zhenbian, Zhenchuan, Hongci, Zhenlu and Zhenhe beacon towers. The section from Zhenbian Tower to Hongci Tower was constructed with rammed earth, so the wall is solid and well preserved. The wall rises five meters high and is the highlighted section of the Great Wall within the city of Datong.
Located in Wutai County in northeastern Xinzhou, 230 kilometers north of Taiyuan City, the Wutai Mountain is regarded as the head of the Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains in China. There are preserved 48 temples, accommodating hundreds of monks and nuns. There are five major peaks. The Wanghai Peak in the east is an ideal place to see the sunrise; The Jinxiu Peak in the south is a sea of wild flowers; The Guayue Peak in the west is the best place to enjoy moonlight; The Yemen Peak in the north overlooks rolling hills in the distance; And the Cuiyan Peak in the middle boasts countless rocks. The highest Yemen Peak rises 3,058 meters and is deemed as the Roof of North China. A treasure of ancient architecture, sculpture and painting, the Wutai Mountain is famous for its long history, brilliant culture, old buildings and abundant cultural relics.
Lying in southwestern Ningwu County, Xinzhou City, the Luya Mountain occupies the north end of the Lŭliang Mountains and is the main peak of the Guancen Mountain. It is also the largest forested area in Shanxi. There are over 50 scenic spots, including Green Luya, Fenyuan Marsh and “Pot Supported by Elephant’s Nose”. It is a state – class forest tourist resort featuring precipitous hills, grotesque peaks, forests, lakes and rare animals.
Ningwu Heavenly Lake
Lying on the east top of the Watershed, 20 kilometers southwest of Ningwu County, it is one of the three most famous alpine lakes in China. There are 15 lakes, Lute Lake and Duck Lake. Among them the largest is Heavenly Lake.
The Yanmen Pass, situated 20 kilometers west of Daixian County, occupied a position of strategic importance in ancient times. With a circumference of one kilometer, its stone – laid wall stands seven meters high. There are three entrances, of which the east one has a watchtower. East to the entrance is the Jingbian Temple. In the north of the pass are barracks; while in the southeast is a drill ground. The magnificent pass is equipped with defense walls, beacon towers, battlements and moats.
10,000 – Year – Old Ice Cave
Located in the east of Maodigou Village, Censhan Township of Ningwu County, the 10,000 – Year – Old Ice Cave is China’s large ice cave that boasts the most abundant natural views and the greatest potential in tourism. It has five stories separated by rocks and ice formations. Its entrance faces the north and is surrounded by dense forests. The developed section of the cave stretches downwards for 100 meters. In the chilly cave stand countless icy stalagmites formed millions of years ago.
Yingxian Wooden Pagoda
Originally named Sakya Pagoda, it is located in the Fogong Temple in northwestern Yingxian County, Shuozhou City. As the highest and oldest wooden structure around the world, the pagoda rises 67.31 meters and weighs 7,400 tons, and its foundation is 30.27 meters in diameter. Viewed from outside, the octagonal pagoda has five stories and six eaves, but there are another four stories hidden inside. As a wonder in the history of human architecture, all parts of the entire pagoda are riveted together, without using any iron nail. In addition, the pagoda preserves the inscriptions of many eminent lettermen over the past dynasties.
Pingshuo Open – Cast Coal Mine
The coalmine in the north of Shuocheng District covers 376 square kilometers and has a coal reserve of 12.6 billion tons. Standing on the 1,500 – meter – high watchtowers at Antaibao and Anjialing coalmines, one will be stunned at the spectacular sight of coal excavation. The coal – washing plant in the coalmine is the largest of its kind in China.
Xinghuacun Fen Spirit Brewery
Lying 15 kilometers north of Fenyang County, Xinghuacun was already known for liquor production during the Southern and Northern Dynasties (420 - 589). The Xinghuacun Fen Spirit Brewery in Xinghua Town has produced many name – brand liquors, including Fen Spirit, Zhuyeqing Liquor, Rose Fen Spirit and Jade Fen Spirit. It is said the Liquor – Spring Well in the brewery was the original site of the famous Zuixianju Restaurant.
North Wudang Mountain
The North Wudang Mountain, also called Longwang or Zhenwu Mountain, Lies in Fangshan County, Shanxi Province, and consists of 72 peaks, 36 cliffs and 14 valleys. Its main peak, Xianglu Peak, rises 2,254 meters and covers some 80 square kilometers. Amidst the mountain are thriving pine trees, blooming wild flowers and precipitous cliffs. Reputed as the No. 1 Famous Mountain in Sanjin, it is deemed as a sacred land for Taoism in northern China.
Pingyao Ancient City
The Pingyao Ancient City, situated in the heart of Shanxi Province, has had a history of 2,700 years and been put onto the World Cutural Heritage List. Known as the best preserved old city in the regions inhabited by Han people, it still maintains the architectural style of the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368 - 1911). The 600 – year – old city wall of Pingyao is the largest of its kind in Shanxi. The streets, shops and local residences in the ancient city remain their traditional layout and style, emitting a touch of primitiveness and elegance. It is also one of the birthplaces of Shanxi merchants.
As the largest ancient residential complex in China, Wang’s Compound lies atop an earth hill in Jingsheng Village, Lingshi County, and is reputed as the First Residence of China. An excellent example of Shanxi merchants’ residences, it boasts marvelous architectural style and high cultural value. Facing south and overlooking downwards, the magnificent compound comprises the East Yard, West Yard and Zhongyi Memorial Temple, with a total area of 34,450 square meters. It is regarded as a museum of residential architecture.
Situated in the Jinzhong Basin, Shanxi Province, Qiao’s Compound was first building during the Qing Dynasty. With an area of 8,724.8 square meters, it consists of six courtyards and 19 smaller yards and has a total of 313 rooms. Viewed from above, the layout of the compound resembles the double Chinese characters “Xi”, which means happiness and luck. A paved path runs through its six courtyards. There are many types of well – designed courtyards, including quadrangles, eccentric yards and corner yards. These courtyards are decorated with brick sculptures and carved ridges, screens and balusters in unique designs.
Located in Qixian County, Qu’s Compound has a rarely found five – row layout. It comprises eight courtyards and 19 smaller yards, with a total of 240 rooms, including the Minglou Yard, Tonglou Yard, Langan Yard and Theater Yard. With a castle – like design, its wall rises over ten meters high. Besides a national layout, the compound also boasts luxurious decorations and exquisite stone and brick carvings. The Museum of Shanxi Merchant Culture is located in the compound.
Chang’s Demesne is located 15 kilometers south of Yuci District, Jinzhong City, and 35 kilometers from Taiyuan City. It covers an area of 15 hectares and is an ideal place for residence, reading, refreshing, meditation, sightseeing, recreation and writing poems. As a classical example of ancient residential architecture, it comprises a hill, a garret, two towers, four gardens, five courtyards, six lakes, eight stele inscriptions, nine halls, 13 pavilions, 25 corridors and 27 houses.
The Mianshan Mountain, also called the Jieshan Mountain, lies 20 kilometers southeast of Jiexiu City. The mountain stretches for more than 50 kilometers, and has been famed as an ideal summer resort since ancient times. Grotesque rocks, steep paths, picturesque rivers, old cypresses, Tang steles, Song sculptures, famous temples and magnificent palaces, as well as celebrated Buddhists and Taoists, comprise the unique natural and cultural spectacles of the Mianshan Mountain. As a key scenic resort in Shanxi Province, it combines beautiful landscapes, historic relics and Buddhist and Taoist architectures.
Dazhai is situated in Xiyang County, Jinzhong City. Before the founding of the People’s Republic of China, it is a deserted land. Owing to the tireless endeavors of local people, it became a leader in agriculture throughout China. So far, Dazhai has developed into a beautiful gardenlike village and an ideal place for agricultural tourism. Its tourist attractions include Chen Yonggui’s Tomb, Dazhai Exhibition Hall, Stele of Guo Moruo’s Poem, Deer Breeding Ground, the former residence of Chen Yonggui and the dwelling of Zhou Enlai.
Yuci Old City
Situated in Yuci District, Jinzhong City, it was constructed on the foundation of a Han city in 582. With an area of 100 hectares, the old city has had a history of over 1,400 years. Featuring brilliant culture and abundant tourism resources, it integrates manmade sights such as old residences, city walls, government offices, temples, traditional streets and shops with natural views including mountains, rivers, forests, springs and waterfalls. It also represents a combination of Shanxi merchant culture, ethnic civilization, Yellow River civilization, Sanjin culture and metropolis culture.
Yongle Palace Murals
The Yongle Palace is situated in the north of Ruicheng County. Its main building, Sanqing Hall, is decorated with murals inside. There are also murals in the Wuji Gate, Chunyang Hall and Chongyang Hall. The murals in the Yongle Palace add up to 873 square meters and feature diverse subjects and exquisite workmanship. The murals are developed on the basis of the figure painting of the Tang and Song Dynasties.
Located on the east bank of the Yellow Tiver, south to the Ancient Puzhou Town in Yongji City, the Guanque Tower is one of the Four Most Famous Towers in China. It consists of the Tower Tourist Area, Yellow River Tourist Area, Landscape Tourist Area and Recreational Travel Area, as well as such scenic spots as the Gate Hall, Guanying Lake, Tangyun Square, Yellow River Custom Garden, Puzhou Custom Garden, Tangfeng Polo Ground and Ritan Water Park.
Situated at Emeiyuan, three kilometers east of the Ancient Puzhou Town, Yongji City, the Pujiu Temple consists of a monastery and a garden. Most buildings, including the Grand Hall, Bell Tower, Buddhist Shrine (Yingying Pagoda), Hall of Heavenly Kings, Bodhisattva Cave, Nituo Hall, Arhat Hall, Shiwang Hall, Sutra Pavilion and Kumu Hall, are clustered by the central, right and left axes. The Buddhist Shrine is one of the four echoing architectures in China and one of the Six Fantastic Pagodas in the world.
Guan Yu’s Temple
Guan Yu’s Temple in Yuncheng’s Xiuzhou Town is the oldest of its kind in China. The temple is divided into the north and south parts. The south section is referred to as Baoyi Garden, which comprises the Archway, Qunzi Pavilion and Sanyi Tower. The north section is known as the main temple, which comprises the front and rear courtyards. Along the central axis of the front courtyard are the Duan Gate, Zhi Gate, Meridian Gate, Yushu Tower and Chongning Hall. Flanked by the Knife Tower and the Seal Tower, the Chunqiu Tower stands in the center of the rear courtyard. The temple boasts a strict and complete layout, and its most exquisite buildings are the Chunqiu Tower and the Chongning Hall.
Yellow River Iron Oxen
On each side of the ancient watercourse of the Yellow River in western Puzhou City there are four iron oxen. The iron oxen lie in two rows and look westwards at the river. Different in gestures but similar in size, they feature lifelike craftsmanship.
Hongdong Scholar Tree
The Hongdong Scholar Tree grows at Dahuaishu Park in northwestern Hongdong County, which witnessed a record – breaking emigration during the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644). The emigration from Hongdong involved an immense population and lasted for a long time, hence its reputation as the Ever – Largest Emigration of the World. For hundreds of years, millions of emigrant descendants have visited here to worship their ancestors.
The Hukou Waterfall is situated in the Jinshan Canyon, 45 kilometers west of Jixian County. As it flows southwards to Jixian, the Yellow River narrows sharply and cascades into a stone pond 30 meters below, forming an illusion of water poured from a kettle, hence its name “Hukou or Kettle – Mouth Waterfall”. The amount of water differs in four seasons, thus creating four spectacular views respectively called “Flying Dragons”, “Smoke from Riverbed”, “Color Bridge to Heaven” and “Boating on the Ground”.
Feihong Pagoda in Guangsheng Temple
The Guangsheng Temple lies at the south foot of Huoshan Mountain, 17 kilometers northeast of Hongdong County. Known as the best – preserved glazed pagoda in China, the Feihong Pagoda is the most famous building in the temple. The octagonal pagoda has 13 stories, with a total height of 47.31 meters. The pagoda body is built with bricks and covered with color – glazed tiles. With delicate components and vivid color patterns, the first three stories are the most spectacular parts of the pagoda.
Standing four kilometers south of Linfen City, the Yao Temple was originally constructed in memory of legendary king Yao during the Jin Dynasty (265 - 420). The temple has undergone many reconstructions. The temple comprises an entrance flanked with stone steles, the Five – Phoenix Tower, Yaojing Pavilion, Dwelling Palace and Corridor of Yao’s Decrees.
Located some 40 kilometers east of Yangquan City, the Niangzi Pass occupies an important position along the Great Wall and is thus reputed as the “Throat of Shanxi and Hebei Provinces”. The castle that remains today was built during the Ming Dynasty and used to have strategic significance. The magnificent pass features fantastic mountains, beautiful rivers and tranquil caves, making itself a perfect combination of cultural and natural sights. The main scenic attractions include watchtowers, waterfalls, planked path, and Pingyang Lake.
Located 18 kilometers north of Mengxian County, Cangshan Mountain derives its name from the legend about saving the orphan prince of the Zhao family. Hidden amidst picturesque hills are countless pavilions and towers that are elegantly painted and decorated. Among them the Dwelling Palace, Feiyan Tower and Main Hall are deemed as gems of ancient architectures. There are also many other cultural relics, such as stele inscriptions, cliff carvings, sculptures and murals.
Guguan Great Wall
Lying in eastern Pingding County, the Guguan Pass is known as one of the Four Famous Passes West to Beijing. An important passage in ancient times, it preserves many buildings dating back to the Ming Dynasty. The Vehicle Track on Outer City, Medicine Tower, Watchtower and Sentry Tower are rare relics related to the inner Great Wall. Moreover, the Guguan Great Wall is the only existing stone – laid section of the Great Wall in China.
Mt. Taihang Canyon
The Mt. Taihang Canyon in southeastern Yuhuguan County concentrates picturesque natural scenery and brilliant cultural sights. Along the Wuzhi, Longquan and Wangmang valleys, there are four scenic areas including Zituan Cave, Yungai Temple, Nŭwa Cave and Zhenze Palace. The Zituan Mountain concentrates all key scenic spots, including immortal cliff, Yungai Temple, Zhaobi Mountain, Yixiu Peak, Nanshen Garden, Tangya Stele, General Peak, Cuiwei Cave and White – Dragon Pond.
Situated in northern Licheng County, Shanxi Province, the Huangya Cave National Forest Park features precipitous cliffs and dense forests. It comprises such scenic areas as the Huangya Cave, Baiyun Cave and Guangzhi Mountain. The scenic spots include Huangyadong Grottos, site of Huangyadong Arsenal, Taohua Fortress, Wengge Corridor, Zhenwo Tower and Martyrs Mausoleum.
Taihang Water Region
Located on the borders of Shanxi, Hebei and Henan provinces, the scenic resort covers 439.7 square kilometers and spans a total of 53 kilometers in length. It is connected to Linzhou’s Hongqi Canal of Henan in the east and is adjacent to Huangya Cave of Licheng in the north. There are more than 50 scenic spots, including the Huaye Rafting, Willow Bay, Swan Lake, Dinosaur Valley, Lesser Three Gorges, Dayun Temple, Garrison Cave, Reedy Lake and Moon Hill.
Huangcheng Prime Minister’s Mansion
Located in Huangcheng Village, Yangcheng County’s Beiliu Town, it is the residence of late Prime Minister Chen Tingjing, who served as Wenyuange Councilor and Chief Proofreader of Kangxi Dictionary during the reign of Emperor Kangxi (1662 - 1722) of the Qing Dynasty. Covering more than 10 hectares, the residence consists of the Inner City, Outer City, Ziyun Path, Xishan Yard, etc. the castle – like architectural complex is reputed as the No. 1 Residence of Letterman’s Family in North China.
Situated in Lingchuan County on the southeastern border between Shanxi and Henan, the Wangmang Range features grotesque – shaped peaks and rocks. It is also an ideal place to enjoy sunrise. Its main scenic spots include the Sun – Watching Terrace, Horse – Stopping Cliff, Shiku Book of Tactics, Sisters Peak and Liuxiucheng Mountain.
Also called Noodles Sliced with Flying Knife due to fantastic cutting technique involved in making process. When skillful cooks cut the noodles, “one falls into the pot, while one flies in the air and one is just sliced, and every piece of noodle jumps like fish in the pot”. The cooked noodles are soft in the chewy in the outer, and digest easily.
As a traditional local product of Pingyao County, Pingyao Beef became famous in the Ming Dynasty, and prevailed at the banquet from the late Qing Dynasty through the early period of the Republic of China. Featuring superb producing techniques, it boasts rosy color, tender texture, strong fragrance, pleasant taste and convenience in storage. The older is the beef cattle, the tastier is its meat.
Duyichu Steamed Dumpling:
Steamed Dumpling is a traditional snack of southern Shanxi. With a shape of guava, it features bright – white color, abundant stuffing, thin wrapper and pleasing taste. Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty spoke highly of the snack, and awarded a plaque with his inscriptions of “Duyichu” to the Fushan Steamed Dumpling Restaurant. From that day on, the restaurant has won fame far and near.
The most famous local products of Shanxi are Fen Liquor and Zhuyeqing Liquor. In addition, Qingxu Vinegar enjoys an equal fame in China and abroad.
The other famous local products include mushrooms growing in Mt. Wutai, Datong gold flower, Hengshan astragalus, Jishan date, Pinglu lily, Puzhou persimmon, Yuanqu Chinese gooseberry, Qingxu grape, Shangdang ginseng, Jincheng hawthorn, Daixian red pepper, Jinci rice, Qinzhouhuang millet, medical herb “Guilingji” from Taigu, Dingkun Pill, Changzhi Dafeng Pill, Houma Male Essence, Hongdong soft – shelled turtle, Yuncheng carps from Yellow River, Gaoping silk, Pingyang woodblock Spring Festival picture, Datong porcelain and bronze ware, Pingyao glazed ware and brocade.
Special products include Liuweizhai Sauced Meat, Yiyuanqing Vinegar, Tai Ink stone, Pingyao Beef, Guilingji Medical Liquor, Shangdang Donkey Meat, Hequ Iced Watermelon, corn shell weaving, oatmeal, Yangquan Iron Pot and Linjun Melon.
Local operas have had a long history in the province, and southern Shanxi is one of the birthplaces of traditional Chinese operas. Besides the four major bangzi operas respectively prevailing in Puzhou, Zhonglu, Beilu and Shangdang, there are also more than 50 smaller genres of traditional operas. In addition, Shanxi is known around the country for drum and gong performaces. Qida (or Jinzhong) yangge is a local dance of unique charm.
Shanxi Province witnesses a rapid development in transportation construction and has established a convenient traffic network combining railways, highroads and aviation.
Aviation: The Taiyuan, Datong, Changzhi and Yuncheng airports in Shanxi offer flights to over 30 major cities around China.
Railways: With the Datong – Puzhou and Shijiazhuang – Taiyuan Highways as the arteries, the province has nine major railroads. There are trains liking Linfen to such cities as Beijing, Xi’an, Taiyuan, Shijiazhuang and Tianjin.
Highroads: A main artery with Taiyuan as the center, the Datong – Yuncheng Highway runs from south to north throughout Shanxi Province. There are also eight national highways and more than 10 highroads liking the province to the outside world.