Shandong (simplified Chinese: 山东; traditional Chinese: 山東; pinyin: Shāndōng; Wade–Giles: Shan1-tung1) is a coastal province of the People's Republic of China, and is part of the East China region. Shandong has played a major role in Chinese history from the beginning of Chinese civilization along the lower reaches of the Yellow River and served as a pivotal cultural and religious site for Taoism, Chinese Buddhism, and Confucianism. Shandong's Mount Tai is the most revered mountain of Taoism and one of the world's sites with the longest history of continuous religious worship. The Buddhist temples in the mountains to the south of the provincial capital of Jinan were once among the foremost Buddhist sites in China. The city of Qufu is the birthplace of Confucius, and was later established as the center of Confucianism. Shandong's location at the intersection of ancient as well as modern north-south and east-west trading routes have helped to establish it as an economic center. After a period of political instability and economic hardship that began in the late 19th century, Shandong has emerged as one of the most populous (95,793,065 inhabitants at the 2010 Census) and most affluent provinces in the People's Republic of China (GDP of 3.94 trillion CNY in 2010).