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.
Ancient city wall, Xi'an
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.