General Introduction: Situated on the Northwest China Loess highland, this province on the middle reaches of the Yellow River covers an area of 206,000 sq km inhabited by 34.425 million people. The provincial capital is Xi'an, a rising industrial center straddling China's east-west trunk line -- the Longhai Railway. Shaanxi is one of the cradles of the Chinese nation where 13 dynasties made their national capital. Yan'an and some of the other places in northern Shaanxi were the seat of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party from October 1935 to 1948.
Climate: Shaanxi has a continental monsoonal climate, with great difference between the areas north and south of the Qinling range. It has a mean annual temperature of 6°－16°, increasing from north to south, and a mean annual precipitation less in the north than in the south: 340-600 mm in northern Shaanxi, 570-700 mm in the Guanzhong Plain and 800-1,210 mm in southern Shaanxi.
Topography: Shaanxi has a varied terrain. In the north are plateaus, in the middle plains and in the south mountainous areas. The Northern Shaanxi Plateau is the middle part of the Loess highland, comprising the whole of northern Shaanxi. Except for scattered stony and rocky mountains, most of it is covered by a deep layer of loess. Here vegetation is sparse and soil erosion over the centuries has brought about a varied loess land formation. The Guanzhong Plain, also known as the Weihe Plain or the Guanzhong Basin, is 30-80 km by 300 km and crossed by the Weihe River and its tributaries, the Jinghe and Beiluo rivers. With fertile soil, abundant farm produce, a large population and convenient transport service, the area is one of the country's important industrial-agricultural centers. The Southern Shaanxi Mountain Area, also known as the Qinba mountainous area, includes the Qinling and Daba ranges and the Hanshui Valley between them.
Agriculture: Northern Shaanxi is a farming-pastoral area growing millet, broom corn millet and sheep, and contains vast areas for developing forestry and animal husbandry. The Guanzhong Plain with its long reclamation history and highly developed agriculture is one of China's best-known wheat and cotton growers. It is also famous for its cattle and donkeys. Southern Shaanxi is a sub-tropical farming area rich in rice, maize, peas and beans, rapeseed, oranges and tangerines, tea, tung-oil, lacquer, bamboo, and medicinal herbs.
Industry: Mineral deposits, including coal, mercury, molybdenum, gold and more than 80 kinds of other minerals have been discovered in the province. The Shenmu and Fugu coal fields in northern Shaanxi have a total reserve of more than 160 billion tons of quality coal containing extra low sulfur, phosphorous and ash contents. A huge reserve of natural gas has also been found in the province.
Shaanxi, which is well-known for its ancient monuments, temples and terra cotta warriors, has built up a modern industry turning out color TV tubes, household electrical appliances and aircraft.