Taiyuan (tĪ-yüän) [key], city (1994 est. pop. 1,642,300), capital of Shanxi prov., N China, on the Fen River, in one of the world's richest coal and iron areas. It is a mining and smelting center with a large iron and steel complex and plants making heavy machinery, chemicals, plastics, fertilizer, cement, paper products, and processed foods. Taiyuan is connected by rail with Beijing. An ancient walled city, it fell to the Communists in 1949 after a siege in which thousands starved. Shanxi Medical College is in the city. Taiyuan was formerly called Yanggu.