Reviving Shanxi

Updated: 2015-10-26 10:11

By Alexander S. Buchanan(

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Reviving Shanxi

Hukou Waterfall.[Photo by Alexander S. Buchanan/For]

Most people might have only heard of the city of Linfen in Shanxi province because of one particular buzzword — pollution. But if we care about the revival of one of the birthplaces of Chinese culture and civilization, there may be no better solution to this problem than to look through fresh eyes and discover what Shanxi has to offer as far as its growing tourism industry.

Making a trip to the ancient city of Pingyao with its restoration walls and featuring the charm of old China is an easy choice. On the day I arrived with a team of incredible photographers and writers on the task of discovering often overlooked aspects of Shanxi, the city of Pingyao was covered in a layer of white mist and touched by soft rain during the morning hours. This moody atmosphere was like a dream world in which after exiting from dreary reality one then opened their eyes to the true beauty of Shanxi.

It is hard to capture such emotions in words, but photographs speak for themselves. The mystery of Pingyao was opening up like a camera lens as our team moved deeper inside the city to a location once used for factory production, now converted into a gallery for a display of photographs. For 15 years, Pingyao has hosted an International Photography Exhibition in this converted space. One of the main exhibitions at the time was an installation named “100 Miners Engraved in Shadow and Light.” An artistic expression of bold understatement, it might have symbolized the problems that grip Shanxi province at the moment, since over-exportation of coal has plagued Shanxi and been much publicized in the news.

Since the government closed private coal mines and reinvested the money in hotels, it seems that taking a vacation to Shanxi these days is a small step towards reviving the economy of this important province, while helping China in its transition from dependence on fossil fuels.

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