The city of Yangquan city is in the eastern part of Shanxi province, to the west of Taihang Mountain, covering 4,451 square kilometers of land, and with a population of 1,289,500 (2003 census). It is in the southeastern part of the Qinshui coalfield, the province’s largest, and a major anthracite and industrial base. Its ferric sulfide and bauxite reserves are first in the country and its other resources include uranium, plaster, asbestos, limestone, clay, crystal and marble. Its coal and iron mining history goes back a thousand years. It has many enterprises in the bauxite business, with products going to the United States and Europe.
Its industries focus on coal, metallurgy, chemicals, machinery, electric power, building materials, non-ferrous metals, and ceramics and produce industrial fuses fro detonation, washed coal, sulfur powder, and accelerator and reduced iron powder. Traditional handicrafts include earthen ware, agricultural hoes, and iron pots, which are sold outside of Shanxi.
The city is a transportation hub, with the Shitai Railway line (from Shijiazhuang, Hebei province to Taiyuan, Shanxi province) and six other railways and roads connected to other cities, as well as short and long distance bus lines. There are also many historical sites, including the Guan Yu Temple, Guanshan and Cangshan mountains, the Niangzi Pass, Shanxi's old eastern gate, and the Jingxing Pass, one of China’s largest passes before the Qin Dynasty (221-206BC). Cangshan Mountain, near Yu county, gets its name "Cang" from the Chinese for "to hide" because, according to tradition, it was the hiding place of Zhao's Orphan. The Guandi Temple, in the northeastern part of Yangquan, was built on the base of a destroyed temple, in the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911) and called the "Dafo Temple", in memory of Guanyu, a general under the warlord Liu Bei during the Three Kingdoms Period (AD220-280).