Situated in southern Shaanxi, Yan'an lies within the northern latitude range of 35°21'-37°31' and the eastern longitude range of 107°41'-110°31', and has a continental plateau monsoonal climate. Yan'an links up with Yulin to the north and with Xianyang, Tongchuan, and Weinan, three cities in the Guanzhong Plain, to the south. It faces Linfen City, Shanxi Province, across the Yellow River to the east, leans against the Ziwu Mountain to the west, and shares borders with Qingyang City, Gansu Province. Yan'an is a prefecture-level city with 12 counties under its control. Yan'an, called Yanzhou in ancient times, has always been the political, economic, cultural, and military center of northern Shaanxi. Yan'an's city proper is located within an area roughly encircled by three mountains, namely Baota Mountain, Qingliang Mountain, and Fenghuang Mountain, and near the confluence of the Yan River and the Fenchuan River. This geographical position has made Yan'an a place contested by both warring sides. The city has historically been referred to as a "strategic passage on the frontier" and a "military town of strategic importance." Yan'an is among the first batch of 24 National Famous Historical and Cultural Cities announced by the State Council.
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