Shanxi which literally means west of mountain is named after its location in the west of the Taihang Mountain Range. It is situated 34°35´-40°45´ north latitude and 110°15´-114°32´ east longitude with an area of 156,300 square kilometers. It is bounded by the North China Plain in the east and the middle Yellow River in the west. Mountains cover 67.5% of Shanxi Province, and its highlands, hills and basins stand at about 1,000 meters or more above sea level, sloping from northeast to southwest.It is divided into 1 district, 10 prefecture-level cities, 12 county-level cities and 85 counties, with a population of 32.97 million as of 2000, mainly including ethnic groups of Han, Hui, Mongolian and Manchu.Because it is situated on the middle segment of the Yellow River, the land of Shanxi is one of the origins of Chinese civilization, exhibiting evidence of human settlement over a million years ago. Huangdi (the Yellow Emperor), a famous legendary hero, apparently sojourned in Shanxi, and the earliest rulers, Yao, Shun and Yu, all founded their capitals there. Datong, known as Pingcheng in ancient times, was the capital of the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534) and famous throughout the Southern and Northern Dynasties (420-581). During the Sui (581-618) and Tang (618-907) Dynasties, Shanxi became very prosperous. In the past, Shanxi people were once called the Chinese Jews, indicating that they were people of wisdom. The long history of Shanxi has provided the province with a rich and colorful cultural heritage.