Xinzhou City is located in the mid-north of Shanxi Province with the total area of 25,180 square kilometers. It is the political, economical and cultural center of Xinzhou District. The physical features of Xinzhou are high in the west and low in the east; Xinzhou city is embraced by mountains from the south, the west and the north directions; flat land, hills and mountain areas take up one-third respectively of Xinzhou; the Yunzhong River and the Muma River flow here and the Hutuo River flows along its boundary. Xinzhou is with Taiyuan which is the capital of Shanxi Province on its south, the Buddhism shrine -Wutai Mountain on its east, the coal capital-Datong on its north. It is a new city taking light industry as its major industry, developing building materials industry and serving for constructing the energy and heavy chemical industry base.
Xinzhou City is the door of the north of Jinyang, surrounded by mountains. It is with vast territory, a part of Qinjin Plateau. It has always been a strategic place. Xinzhou City has advantageous geographic location, convenient traffic condition and rich tourist resources. In recent years Xinzhou has exploited many scenic spots, such as, "the first cave in North China"-Yu King Cave, "the first spring under the heaven"-the hot spring in Qi Village, "the first village in Sanjin"-Dun Village (a spa vocation village), etc. Xinzhou has taken initial shape of a tourist zone with exploring, spending summer holiday and entertainment as its themes. The major scenic spots are: Yu King Cave, "Chinese Myth Palace", Adventure World, Yuanhaowen Tomb, the homeland of Diaochan, etc.
As Xinzhou is situated at the middle reaches of Yellow River, the eastern part of loess plateau and on the west side of the North China Great Plains, its special climate, soil conditions, ancient cultural traditions and folk customs have formed unique natural and cultural wonders. This land features precipitous mountain peaks, verdant and lush forests, stretches of serene lakes, and various rare and precious birds and animals, all contributing to the unique views of Xinzhou.
Its tourist resources are distinctive, and it’s pervaded by Mountains, rivers, temples, springs, caves, forests and other places of historical interest. Xinzhou possesses numerous heroic natural resources and historical relics. There are 293 scenic spots in which 112 ones have been developed.
In Xinzhou, the Buddhist sacred land, Mount Wutai, which is the first of the Four Buddhist Holy Mountains, is one of the 35 scenic areas that are issued by the State. There are 10 State-level key units of cultural relics protection. Four national forest parks like Mount Wutai and Mount Luya. The historic passes in the Great Wall, like Yanmen Pass, Ningwu Pass and Piantou Pass.
The splendours of the mountains
First of all, there are so many famous mountains in Xinzhou. The Buddhist sacred land, the world-famous Wutai Mountain, which is also the first of the Four Buddhist Holy Mountains, is in the east of Xinzhou. Guancen Mountain which is heavily forested is in the west of Xinzhou, possessing hundreds of rivers and springs. Its main peak, Luya Peak, is majestic and steep. When the sun rises after rain, bizarre red light will appear among mountain peaks. Tianzhu Mountain Scenic Area is located at the confluence of Fenhe and Mill River with its high and precipitous mountains, verdant and luxuriant forests. There are many other famous mountains such as Xizhou Mountain, Tuoluo Mountain and Camel Mountain.
Secondly, there are a large number of strategic passes in Xinzhou. As it is of great strategic importance, Xinzhou City has been a place contested by all strategists. During the War of Resistance against Japan, Xinzhou City was the significant strategic place contested by both sides. The Great Victory in Pingxing Guan and the Battle of Xinkou took place in Pingxing Guan and Xinkou Guan.
Thirdly, there are abundant forest resources. As there are four national forest parks in Xinzhou, its forest coverage is high. The trees are mainly larches and spruces. During the time in summer and autumn, Sheep are grazing in the lush green pastures. People can enjoy the scenery of highland.
Fourthly, there are all kinds of rare and precious birds and animals. Xinzhou City has 148 species of birds, in which crossoptilon, red-crowned crane, black stork, white stork and leopard are under the State’s first-grade protection. Especially the crossoptilons in Xinzhou, which are the only rare species across the whole world, are treasures of China. The rare birds under the State’s second-grade protection are swans and golden eagles. Besides, there is lots of other precious wildlife there.
Fifthly, there are lots of caves with magnificent sights, such as Jingui Cave, Yusheng Cave, Shuijing Cave and Jiuqu Cave. Yusheng Cave in Xinzhou is the largest karst cave in North China. In the caves, there are countless stone Buddhas, masonry towers, stalagmites, stalactites, lime-flowers and stone-bars. Besides, the ice cave in Guancen Forest Area enjoys world- wide fame.
The beauty of the rivers
In Xinzhou, numerous rivers, lakes and springs flowing though forests make the natural scenery more beautiful. Besides, Xinzhou is rich in groundwater resources and has many hot springs with high quality. Especially the hot spring in Qicun of Xinfu District richly contains many precious trace elements which have curative effect on many kinds of skin diseases. According to the experts, its water quality ranks first in China and is rare even in the whole world. The development of the wonderful hot springs makes Xinzhou an ideal place for sightseeing and vacation.
There are more than ten glassy mountain lakes in the hinterland of Mount Guancen, such as Tianchi rising over 1700 meters above sea level，was the tourist attraction and hunting place of the royal families. Emperor Suiyang made it his residence.