Coordinates: 35°36′N 108°24′E / 35.6°N 108.4°E / 35.6; 108.4
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Province of Shaanxi
Name transcription(s)
 • AbbreviationSN / Shǎn / Qín
Loess Plateau in Wubu, Shaanxi
Loess Plateau in Wubu, Shaanxi
Map showing the location of Shaanxi Province
Map showing the location of Shaanxi Province
Coordinates: 35°36′N 108°24′E / 35.6°N 108.4°E / 35.6; 108.4
(and largest city)
Divisions10 prefectures, 107 counties, 1745 townships
 • CCP SecretaryZhao Yide
 • GovernorZhao Gang
 • Total205,800 km2 (79,500 sq mi)
 • Rank11th
Highest elevation3,771 m (12,372 ft)
 • Total39,530,000
 • Rank16th
 • Density190/km2 (500/sq mi)
  • Rank21st
 • Ethnic compositionHan – 99.5%
Hui – 0.4%
 • Languages and dialectsJin Chinese, Zhongyuan Mandarin
ISO 3166 codeCN-SN
GDP (2020)CNY 2.618 trillion
US$380 billion (14th)[3]
 - per capitaCNY 66,234
US$9,599 (14th)
 • growthIncrease 2.2%
HDI (2019)Increase 0.762[4]
high · 13th

Shaanxi (alternatively Shensi, see § Name) is a landlocked province of China. Officially part of Northwest China, it borders the province-level divisions of Shanxi (NE, E), Henan (E), Hubei (SE), Chongqing (S), Sichuan (SW), Gansu (W), Ningxia (NW) and Inner Mongolia (N).

Shaanxi covers an area of over 205,000 km2 (79,151 sq mi) with about 37 million people, the 16th highest in China. Xi'an – which includes the sites of the former Chinese capitals Fenghao and Chang'an – is the provincial capital as well as the largest city in Northwest China[5] and also one of the oldest cities in China and the oldest of the Four Great Ancient Capitals, being the capital for the Western Zhou, Western Han, Jin, Sui and Tang dynasties.[6] Xianyang, which served as the Qin dynasty capital, is just north across Wei River. The other prefecture-level cities into which the province is divided are Ankang, Baoji, Hanzhong, Shangluo, Tongchuan, Weinan, Yan'an and Yulin.

The province is geographically divided into three parts, namely Northern, Central and Southern Shaanxi. Northern Shaanxi (or "Shaanbei") makes up the southeastern portion of the Ordos Basin and mainly comprises the two prefectural cities of Yulin and Yan'an on the northern Loess Plateau, demarcated from the Ordos Desert and the grasslands of Inner Mongolia's Ordos City by the Ming Great Wall. Central Shaanxi (or "Shaanzhong") is also known as the Guanzhong region and comprises the drainage basin of lower Wei River east of Mount Long and north of the Qinling Mountains, where the majority of Shaanxi's population reside. Southern Shaanxi (or "Shaannan") comprises the three prefectural cities in the edge of the historical Bashu region south of the Qinling Mountains and includes the three mountainous cities of Hanzhong, Ankang and Shangluo.

Along with areas of adjacent Shanxi and Henan provinces, it formed the cradle of the Chinese civilization. In the Republican era of China, the city of Yan'an was near the endpoint of the Long March by the Chinese Red Army, who fled from Jiangxi after the Chinese Soviet Republic were destroyed by the Kuomintang armies, and became the birthplace of the Chinese Communist Revolution from late 1935 to early 1947 and the Communists formed the Shaan-Gan-Ning Border Region in constituent parts of Shaanxi.

The vast majority of the population of Shaanxi is Han Chinese (>99%), with Hui, Manchu and Mongol being the more significant ethnic minorities. Mandarin Chinese is the main spoken language in Shaanxi, including Zhongyuan Mandarin and Southwestern Mandarin dialects; another variety of Chinese, Jin Chinese, is also spoken in the regions neighboring Shanxi.

Shaanxi is China's 15th largest economy, ranking within the middle tier among China's administrative divisions. The fossil fuel and high technology sectors compose the two largest industries in Shaanxi Province. The high technology sector includes aircraft and aerospace industries and Shaanxi produces more than 50% of the R&D and manufacturing equipment for the country's domestic commercial aviation industry.[7]


Languages Pronunciations of
陝西 山西
Jin Chinese[8] [ʂje sɛe̯] [sã sɛe̯]
13th cen. Mandarin[9] [ʃem si] [ʃan si]
Xi'an Mandarin[10] [ʂæ̃ ɕi] [sæ̃ ɕi]
Beijing Mandarin [ʂan ɕi]

The meaning of the province, "Shan's west", traces to circa 1000 BC when the Dukes of Shao and Zhou marked their borders along Shan plateau (陝塬, now Zhanbian plateau).[11] In Chinese typing, the toponym often got mixed up with "valley" (note: distinguish and ).[12] Simplified characters merged the two as .[12]

PostalShensi [14]
Literal meaning"Shǎn's west"

The alphabet rendering of 陝西 and its neighboring province 山西 are troublesome in Beijing Mandarin, which pronounces both as [ʂan ɕi] only with a different tone (rendered as Shǎnxī and Shānxī in pinyin transcription, 1958). To avoid confusion, mainland China recognized the Gwoyeu Romatzyh transcription (1928) for , "Shaan".[13][16]

Nonetheless, the vowels and consonants of and are distinguished in the more conservative Jin Chinese languages native to the two provinces, as shown on the chart to the right (refer to IPA for Jin Chinese for further information). These conservative phonology are reflected on the historical spelling of Shaanxi, "Shensi", known to the Europeans in the 18th century.[14] "Shensi" was recognized in the 1906 Chinese postal romanization. "Shensi" continued to be popular until 1987 when the PRC banned pre-PRC romanizations.[13]


Tongwancheng, capital of Northern Xia (407-431).
Cliff inscriptions in Red Stone Gorge from 1587 to 1949.
A typical yaodong residence.
Terracotta Warriors.

Shaanxi is considered one of the cradles of Chinese civilization. Thirteen feudal dynasties established their capitals in the province during a span of more than 1,100 years, from the Zhou dynasty to the Tang dynasty.

The province's principal city and current capital, Xi'an, is one of the four great ancient capitals of China and is the eastern terminus of the Silk Road, which leads to Europe, the Arabian Peninsula, and Africa.

The region was briefly governed as the Three Qins after the fall of the Qin dynasty. This is the origin of one of Shaanxi's two abbreviations, (Qin), the other being (Shaan). Then it was conquered by Liu Bang during the Chu-Han Contention. Under the Han dynasty, the Northern Silk Road was expanded to advance exploration and military purposes to the west. This Northern Silk Road is the northernmost of the Silk Roads and is about 2,600 kilometres (1,600 mi) in length. It connected the ancient Chinese capital of Xi'an to the west over the Wushao Ling Pass to Wuwei and emerging in Kashgar before linking to ancient Parthia.[17]

The Xiongnu-led kingdom Northern Xia (407-431) set its capital in Tongwancheng.[18]

The Northern Song dynasty and the Tangut-led contested their border in Shaanxi. Western Xia found the Luōwùchéng (罗兀城) frontier fort in 1071 but was taken by Song in 1081.[19]

Under the Ming dynasty, Shaanxi was established with the founding of the Shaanxi Provincial Administration Commission in 1376, whose administration also included the modern provinces of Gansu, Ningxia, and part of Qinghai.[20] During this dynasty, most visitors from Central and West Asia entered the country via Shaanxi.[21]

One of the most devastating earthquakes in history occurred near Hua Shan in southeastern Shaanxi on January 23, 1556, killing an estimated 830,000 people (see 1556 Shaanxi earthquake).

The end of the short-lived Jiangxi Soviet signaled the beginning of the Long March by Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communists to the Shaanxi Soviet at Yan'an.

The administrative evolution of Shaanxi: The Northern Song established the Shaanxi Lu (circuit), governed from modern Xi'an in 997. The Yuan dynasty established Shaanxi Province (Yuan dynasty), governed by a Branch Secretariat in 1286.[20] After the founding of the Qing dynasty, Gansu was split from Shaanxi, but both provinces were governed under the Viceroy of Shaan-Gan.

Prehistoric site[edit]

The Lantian Man site, with hominin fossils from approximately one million years ago, was found in Lantian County in northwestern Shaanxi province, near the city of Xi'an. Scientists classify Lantian Man as a subspecies of Homo erectus. The fossils are displayed at the Shaanxi History Museum, Xi'an, China.


The Yellow River is the natural provincial border between Wubu, Shaanxi (right) and Liulin, Shanxi (left), both being the heartland of Jin Chinese language. The Taiyuan–Zhongwei–Yinchuan railway ran across the bridge.

The geography of the area is described as being part of the Ordos Desert in the north along the border with Inner Mongolia, the Loess Plateau in the central part of the province, the Qin Mountains (Qinling) running east to west in the south central part, and subtropical climate south of the Qinling. In between the Loess Plateau and the Qinling lies the Wei River Valley, or Guanzhong, a cradle of early Chinese civilization.

Going clockwise, Shaanxi borders Shanxi (E, NE), Henan (E), Hubei (SE), Chongqing (S), Sichuan (SW), Gansu (W), Ningxia (NW), and Inner Mongolia (N). In terms of number of bordering provincial-level divisions, Shaanxi ties Inner Mongolia.

Due to its large span in latitude, Shaanxi has a variety of climates. Under the Köppen climate classification, the northern parts, including the Loess Plateau, have either a cold arid (Köppen BWk) or cold semi-arid (Köppen BSk), with cold and very dry winters, dry springs and autumns, and hot, humid summers. The area known as Guanzhong is mostly semi-arid, though there are a few areas with a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cwa), with cool to cold winters, and hot, humid summers that often see early-season heatwaves. The southern portion is much more humid and lies in the humid subtropical zone, with more temperate winters and long, hot, humid summers. Annual mean temperature is roughly between 8 and 16 °C (46 and 61 °F), with January temperatures ranging from −11 to 3.5 °C (12.2 to 38.3 °F) and July temperatures ranging from 21 to 28 °C (70 to 82 °F).

Besides the provincial capital of Xi'an, other cities include: Baoji, Hanzhong, Lintong, Tongchuan, Xianyang, Yan'an and Ankang.

Mount Hua, a famous attraction.

Administrative divisions[edit]

Shaanxi consists of ten prefecture-level divisions: all prefecture-level cities (including a sub-provincial city):

Administrative divisions of Shaanxi
Division code[22] Division Area in km2[23] Population 2010[24] Seat Divisions[25]
Districts Counties CL cities
610000 Shaanxi Province 205,800.00 37,327,378 Xi'an city 30 71 6
610100 Xi'an city 10,096.81 8,467,837 Weiyang District 11 2
610200 Tongchuan city 3,884.81 834,437 Yaozhou District 3 1
610300 Baoji city 18,116.93 3,716,731 Jintai District 3 9
610400 Xianyang city 10,323.99 4,894,834 Qindu District 3 9 2
610500 Weinan city 13,030.56 5,286,077 Linwei District 2 7 2
610600 Yan'an city 37,030.54 2,187,009 Baota District 2 10 1
610700 Hanzhong city 27,096.43 3,416,196 Hantai District 2 9
610800 Yulin city 42,920.18 3,351,437 Yuyang District 2 9 1
610900 Ankang city 23,536.31 2,629,906 Hanbin District 1 9
611000 Shangluo city 19,587.31 2,341,742 Shangzhou District 1 6

The ten prefecture-level cities of Shaanxi are subdivided into 107 county-level divisions (30 districts, four county-level cities, and 73 counties).

Urban areas[edit]

Population by urban areas of prefecture & county cities
# City Urban area[26] District area[26] City proper[26] Census date
1 Xi'an[a] 5,206,253 6,501,190 8,467,838 2010-11-01
(1) Xi'an (new districts)[a] 389,830 889,854 see Xi'an 2010-11-01
2 Baoji 871,940 1,437,802 3,716,737 2010-11-01
3 Xianyang[b] 730,704 945,420 5,096,001 2010-11-01
4 Tongchuan 463,866 743,277 834,437 2010-11-01
5 Yulin[c] 429,189 637,617 3,351,436 2010-11-01
(5) Yulin (new district)[c] 114,188 288,053 see Yulin 2010-11-01
6 Ankang 379,707 870,126 2,629,906 2010-11-01
7 Hanzhong[d] 350,167 534,923 3,416,196 2010-11-01
(7) Hanzhong (new district)[d] 144,596 471,634 see Hanzhong 2010-11-01
8 Weinan[e] 347,484 877,142 5,286,077 2010-11-01
(8) Weinan (new district)[e] 107,467 322,148 see Weinan 2010-11-01
9 Yan'an[f] 336,856 475,234 2,187,009 2010-11-01
(9) Yan'an (new district)[f] 74,945 171,552 see Yan'an 2010-11-01
(10) Shenmu[g] 282,650 455,493 see Yulin 2010-11-01
11 Xingping 247,539 541,554 see Xianyang 2010-11-01
12 Hancheng 196,574 391,164 see Weinan 2010-11-01
13 Shangluo 156,781 531,696 2,341,742 2010-11-01
14 Huayin 127,987 258,113 see Weinan 2010-11-01
(15) Binzhou[h] 106,710 171,462 see Xianyang 2010-11-01
16 Yangling[b] 104,944 201,172 see Xianyang 2010-11-01
  1. ^ a b New districts established after census: Gaoling (Gaoling County), Huyi (Huxian County). These new districts not included in the urban area & district area count of the pre-expanded city.
  2. ^ a b Yangling is a satellite urban area separated from Xianyang and it is not included in the urban area & district area count.
  3. ^ a b New district established after census: Hengshan (Hengshan County). The new district not included in the urban area & district area count of the pre-expanded city.
  4. ^ a b New district established after census: Nanzheng (Nanzheng County). The new district not included in the urban area & district area count of the pre-expanded city.
  5. ^ a b New district established after census: Huazhou (Huaxian County). The new district not included in the urban area & district area count of the pre-expanded city.
  6. ^ a b New district established after census: Ansai (Ansai County). The new district not included in the urban area & district area count of the pre-expanded city.
  7. ^ Shenmu County is currently known as Shenmu CLC after census.
  8. ^ Binxian County is currently known as Binzhou CLC after census.


Walled City of Yulin, Shaanxi.
Shaanxi People's Government
Education Department of Shaanxi Province

The politics of Shaanxi is structured in a triple party-government system like all other governing institutions in mainland China.

The Governor of Shaanxi is the highest-ranking official in the People's Government of Shaanxi. However, in the province's dual party-government governing system, the Governor is considered to have less power than the Shaanxi Chinese Communist Party Provincial Committee Secretary (中共陕西省委书记), colloquially termed the "Shaanxi CCP Party Chief"; since the Governor is always ranked as the First-Deputy Secretary in the Shaanxi Chinese Communist Party Provincial Committee.

Shaanxi was established as a provincial government since Qing dynasty. On 10 January 1950, the People's Government of Shaanxi was established in Xi'an. Ma Minfang was then appointed as the first Governor of Shaanxi.


As of the mid-19th century, Shaanxi exported animal skins, wine, liquor, and musk. Money loans were also common, with Shaanxi business people involved in the Guangzhou loan business. Shaanxi commonly imported European animal skins, watches, Chinese language books, and cloth.[27]

The fossil fuel and high technology sectors compose the two largest industries in Shaanxi province. During 2009, the province ranked third in China for production of coal, natural gas and crude oil.[7] As the home of several of the leading universities and research institutes in Western China, Shaanxi province also plays a major role in China's burgeoning aircraft and aerospace industries, producing more than 50% of the R&D and manufacturing equipment for the country's domestic commercial air industry.[7] Nominal GDP for 2011 was 1,239 billion RMB (US$196.7 billion) and GDP per capita was 21,729 RMB (US$3,179), ranking 17th in the PRC.

In the first half of 2019, Shaanxi's total production value reached 1,162.557 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 5.4%. The added value of the primary industry was 55.319 billion yuan, an increase of 4.5%; the second industry was 557.935 billion yuan, an increase of 4.2%; the tertiary industry was 549.303 billion yuan, an increase of 6.8%.[28]

Economic and technological development zones[edit]

Baoji Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone[edit]

Established in 1992, Baoji Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone was approved as a national hi-tech zone by the State Council. It has a long-term planned area of 40 km2 (15 sq mi). The transportation system around the zone includes Xi'an-Xianyang International Airport and National Highway 310, and industries operating within the zone include auto parts, electronics, IT, pharmaceuticals and bioengineering industries and new materials.[29]

Shaanxi Xi'an Export Processing Zone[edit]

Shaanxi Xi'an Export Processing Zone (XEPZ) was approved on 21 June 2002 by the State Council for its establishment and was put on 5 April 2004. As the first state-level export processing zone in northwest China, XEPZ has become one of the seven pioneer EPZs with the function of bonded logistics in China. XEPZ is under the leadership of the Administrative Committee of Xi'an Economic and Technological Development Zone (XETDZ), which is designated by Xi'an municipal government to exercise economic and administrative power within the zone. XEPZ is a special economic zone. By now, there are more than 40 enterprises home and abroad settled in XEPZ. The pillar industries feature aviation, machinery, electronics and new energy.[30]

Western Triangle[edit]

The Western Triangle is a new economic zone composing the three major city-level economies of Western China: Xi'an, Chongqing and Chengdu. It is believed that the addition of Xi'an to the Triangle will spur economic growth in the region and allow the city an opportunity to capitalize on the commercial potential of its high-technology industries.[7]

Xi'an Economic and Technological Development Zone[edit]

Established in 1993, Xi'an Economic and Technology Development Zone was approved as a national zone in 2000. The zone is 20 minutes from Xi'an Xianyang International Airport, and national highways pass through. It has formed four pillar industries: automotive, electronics, food, and new materials industries. So far, the zone has attracted more than 1,700 enterprises.[31]

Xi'an High-tech Industrial Development Zone[edit]

Xi'an HTDZ opened its gates in 1991. It was established as a "pivotal location" for investment by high-tech industry companies in central and northwest China. Established in 1991, Xi'an Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone is a national high-tech zone. It is surrounded by national highways and it is 30 minutes from Xi'an-Xianyang International Airport. Furthermore, it is ranked in the top three high-tech zones in China.[32]

Xi'an Software Park[edit]

Xi'an Software Park, established in December 1998, is the professional park for Xi'an to develop scale software and service outsourcing industries. The park has been appraised as a software industry base under the National Torch Program, national software industry base, national software export base, city demonstrational area of national service outsourcing base. It is one of the four parks with "double bases" of software in China. Xi'an Software Park assembles 90% of enterprises engaging in software and service outsourcing in Xi'an. There were nearly 780 companies, of which foreign-funded enterprises account for 170, and over 71,000 jobholders in the park by the end of 2008.[33]

Yangling Agriculture Hi-Tech Industrial Zone[edit]

Yangling Agriculture Hi-Tech Industrial Zone was approved as a national-level hi-tech development zone by State Council in 1997. It is 82 km (51 mi) from Xi'an to the east and 70 km (43 mi) from Xi'an Xianyang International Airport.[34]


Nearly all the people in Shaanxi are ethnic Han Chinese, with pockets of Hui population in the northwestern region (adjacent to Ningxia). Shaanxi province is one of the centers of ancient Chinese civilization. The central part of Shaanxi, known as Guanzhong, where the provincial capital Xi'an is located, is more populous compared to the others (Shaannan and Shaanbei),

Historical population
1912[35] 9,364,000—    
1928[36] 11,802,000+26.0%
1936–37[37] 9,780,000−17.1%
1947[38] 10,011,000+2.4%
1954[39] 15,881,281+58.6%
1964[40] 20,766,915+30.8%
1982[41] 28,904,423+39.2%
1990[42] 32,882,403+13.8%
2000[43] 35,365,072+7.6%
2010[44] 37,327,378+5.5%
Xi'an part of Shaanxi Province until 1947; dissolved in 1954 and incorporated into Shaanxi Province.


Temple at Erlangshan (二郎山) overlooking Shenmu.
Daoist temple by the Yellow River

Religion in Shaanxi[45][note 1]

  Christianity (1.57%)
  Muslims (0.8%)
  Other religions or not religious people[note 2] (90.05%)

The predominant religions in Shaanxi are Chinese folk religions, Taoist traditions and Chinese Buddhism. According to surveys conducted in 2007 and 2009, 7.58% of the population believes and is involved in ancestor veneration, while 1.57% of the population identifies as Christian.[45] The reports didn't give figures for other types of religion; 90.85% of the population may be either irreligious or involved in worship of nature deities, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, folk religious sects, and small minorities of Muslims.


Shaanxi cuisine



Professional sports teams based in Shaanxi include:

See also[edit]

Explanatory notes[edit]

  1. ^ The data was collected by the Chinese General Social Survey (CGSS) of 2009 and by the Chinese Spiritual Life Survey (CSLS) of 2007, reported and assembled by Xiuhua Wang (2015)[45] in order to confront the proportion of people identifying with two similar social structures: ① Christian churches, and ② the traditional Chinese religion of the lineage (i. e. people believing and worshipping ancestral deities often organised into lineage "churches" and ancestral shrines). Data for other religions with a significant presence in China (deity cults, Buddhism, Taoism, folk religious sects, Islam, et al.) was not reported by Wang.
  2. ^ This may include:


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