China Hohhot City:
2.004 million (urban population: 0.66 million)
Hohhot (Huhehaote) is the capital of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, rich and beautiful, which was founded on May 1, 1947, is the first region in our country where the regional autonomy of the minority nationalities was realized. Inhabited by 49 nationalities, Inner Mongolia has a population of 22,840,000, including 3,700,000 Mongolian people and more than 800,000 people of other minorities. It has an area of 1,183,000 square kilometers.
Situated in the central area in the Neimenggu Autonomous Region, at the southern foot of Mt. Yinshan, higher north and lower south terrain; central and south plain; Mt. Qingshan in its north, Yellow River flowing through its south
temperate monsoon climate; without cold winters and hot summers; with favorable springs and autumns; average sunshine of 2700 to 3400 hours annually; with frost-free period of 60-160 days
More than 600 species of wild plants, which are economically valuable, grow in Inner Mongolia, such as hazelnuts, shiny-leaved yellow horn, Red bilberry, acorn, narrow-leaved oleaster, black moss and mushroom. More than 500 species of wild plants, which have medicinal effects on diseases, also grow in Inner Mongolia, including saline distance, membranous milk vetch and so on. A lot of wild birds and animals live in Inner Mongolia, including swallow, duck, turtledove, sable and fitch. Sable, fitch, pilose antler of a young stag, deer's penis, deer's tendor and so on are all valuable traditional Chinese medicine.
The military preparedness theme is carried over to industry. Anti-aircraft guns, for example, are in place at the city's largest textile mill.
Hohhot was built in the third year of Wanli Period in the Ming dynasty (namely 1575AD.), and named Kukuhetun city, later to be called as "Suiyuan city", commonly known as "Green city"; in 1954, chosen as the capital of Neimengu Autonomous Region, and to be named as Hohhot, which in Mongolian means a city in green
It is just over an hour away from the capital by plane. The more interesting train trip?crossing through the same mountain passes that cracile the Great Wall?consumes about 10 hours.
The region stretches along China's northwestern border with the Soviet Union and is considered strategically vital for China.
A visit to Hohhot is likely to be an unforgettable experience. Wether landing at the dusty airport?which consists of little more than runway, windsock, and control tower? or arriving at the busy train terminal after a ride through the foothills of northern China, the traveler is likely to be whisked off immediately to a traditional Mongolian rodeo.
The local department store doubles as the Friendship Store. This two -storey emporium attracts shoppers from both the city and the grasslands, making the crowds as interesting as the merchandise. Excellent local crafts include blankets, costumes, millinery goods (colorful lace), knives, and artifacts such as reindeer statues made from river shells. Even Mongolia's traditional wooden saddles are offered for sale.
Wool and Goatshair Textiles
The wool textile industrial bases of Inner Mongolia have been set up in Hohhot, Baotou, Chifeng, Dongsheng, Tongliao and Hailar. The famous and quality products are as follows.
Ordos brand goatshair sweater, Luda brand wool sweater, Huangfei brand knitting wool, Rongguan brand goatshair muffler, Changcheng brand 99-line hand-made carpet, Luzhou brand dyed adhesive-bonded wool carpet, Tiantan brand antique-imitating carpet, Feima brand 100-line hand-made Qianlong carpet, Baoma brand 65215 jacquard woolen blanket, Wanping brand 46510 multi-color jacquard woolen blanket, etc.
National Handicraft Articles and National Daily-used Articles
National handicraft articles mainly includes Balin stone carvings, Jixueshi carvings, the handicraft articles carved out of jade, agate, animals bones and animal's horns, gold or silver jewels, ornaments and other handiwork made of such metals as brass. The famous national handicraft articles are Silver Horse Ornament-Gaining an Immediate Victory, and Silver Horse Ornament--Arrival of the Good Fortune. The national daily-used articles (referring to the articles which the people of minority nationalities need in their daily life) are mainly as follows: Mongolian folding chair, Mongolian chess, snuff bottle, notional toys, copper hot pot, machine-made copper hot pot, sliver bowl, ox horn cup, Mongolian-style hat, Mongolian yurt, Mongolian boots, Yongshi brand boots, saddle, the sword placed under the pillow for dealing with surprise attacks, knife with the horse head-shaped handle, prince's waist sword, Love Mongolian Knives, IM brand cloth piece-wool-padded toys, Changcheng brand tapestry, etc.
Mutton is the staple of the Mongolian table. )"en it is served in large chunks, it is meant to be carved and caten with a uniquely shaped knife, the only utensil on the table besides chopsticks. The mutton is barbecued, spit?roasted, or grilled. Mongolian Hot Pot has become a popular dish throughout China. A pot of bubbling broth is simmered at the table in Swiss fondue fashion and diners watch slivers of lamb and vegetables quickly cook. Then the lamb is dipped into spicy sauce and condiments and eaten together with round sesame buns. Mongolian?style hotly pep-pered shishkebob is also a favorite national dish of China. The traditional Mongolian tea is worth a try. A rich, warm broth, it is fortified with goat's milk, butter, and grains, and served with various breads, including short-bread cakes.
Roast lamb is the traditional Mongolian food, which is specially prepared when a dinner party is held in honor of the distinguished guests or a great celebration is held. The roast lamb, which looks golden red and tastes quite delicious, is laid on a square wooden dish.
Instant-boiled mutton, also called the Mongolian Fire Pot, was created in the Yuan Dynasty. Choose mutton from the back, rear legs or tail of a killed sheep. Cut the mutton into slices. The boiled mutton is fresh and tender, not greasy.
This is the delicacy which the Mongolian people like best. It is only prepared for the special occasions, such as offering sacrifices to gods or ancestors, holding weddings or celebrating the elder's birthday. When the dinner party begging, it is customary for the Mongolian people to cut a piece of meat from the fat tail first and have a taste of it.
This dish is the traditional food which the Mongolian people have liked best for thousands of years. People often use their fingers to take the meat while eating. That's why the dish is called finger mutton.
It is also called yellow butter. Butter is nutritious and unique in flavor, is suitable for both the Chinese food and the Western food.
It is one of the dairy products the Mongolian people like best.
Generally, the Mongolian people like drinking sour milk, instead of drinking fresh milk.
Milk tea is the traditional hot drink the Mongolian people like best. It is made by boiling the water with brick tea and fresh milk. People usually put a little salt into the milk when they drink it.
Sometimes they put a little butter or stir-fried millet into the milk tea.
Shaomai is a local delicacy, which has a long history in Hohhot. The visitors who come to Hohhot always have a taste of shaomai. Shaomai is characteristic of unique technique, fine raw materials, nice and thin wrappers, delicious fillings and all necessary ingredients and seasoning. The hot shaomai taken just out of the steamer gives out pleasing smell. It looks like a small soft bag when it is picked up with chopsticks, and looks like a small pancake when it is placed on the plate. It is delicious in taste and pleasing in form.
Naked Oat Flour
Naked oat flour is processed out of naked oats. The naked oats, which is a low-yield, cold-resisting and salt-alkali-resisting crop with a short mature period, contain high protein, fat and many kinds of trace elements, such as iron, calcium and phosphorus.
The naked oat flour is processed in a special way. The food of various kinds can be made out of the naked oat flour. They are well received by the local people.
Buckwheat flour is processed out of buckwheat. The flour can be made into noodles and some other kinds of food. Putting some mutton gravy into the noodle, people find the food quite delicious.
There are 10 universities in the region, and 54 scientific research institutes specializing in such subjects as agriculture, industry, and Mon-golian culture. Senior political cadres are trained at institutes of national minorities in Hohhot and Beijing.
The Mongolian folk songs, which fall into two tunes
major and minor, display the unique style of the ethnic music. The major is characterized by lengthy composition, trembling and vibration pitch, graceful and dignified melody with a few words. The minor has the feature of regular rhythm and metres. All the folk songs reflect the Mongolian people's bold and unconstrained character, frank and open personality, and enthusiastic simple and honest qualities.
Haolaibao, a local drama, has been popular and well received in Inner Mongolia. Its tune is fixed and the words of songs are almost improvised by the performers who are inspired by something or some scenes. Generally, the drama is performed by one, two or more actors in the form of singing.
The Mongolia dances have long enjoyed good reputation. Such dances as traditional Saber Dance, Ordos Dance, Chopsticks Dance, and Cup and Bowl Dance are all characterized by the sprightly rhythm, exquisite movements and gestures, and unbounded and stirring atmosphere, vividly revealing the Mongolian people's temperament of enthusiasm, openness and honesty.
The most favorite musical instrument of the Mongolian people is called Ma-Tou-Qin - a bowed stringed instrument with a scroll carved like a horse's head. The actor usually plays it by himself. Sometimes he plays the instrument to accompany his own singing. The music and singing are both melodious.
The Nadam Fair
The word Nadam means recreation or games in Mongolian. The Nadam Fair is the traditional gathering of the Mongolian people, who use this exciting gathering as a big occasion to compete in the horse-racing, wrestling and archery which are regarded as the three basic skills of men. Meanwhile, people make good use of this gathering to hold talks and establish relations in economic trade or to interchange goods. The Nadam Fair is often held in the golden autumn.
Hohhot Attractive points:
Located near the bank of Da Hei River (Da Hei He), six miles to the south of Hohhot (Hu He Hao Te), Zhaojun Tomb is one of the most beautiful scenes of ancient times.
This tomb is one hundred feet tall, occupying an area of 1.3 hectare. It was said that each year when it turned cold and grasses became yellow that only this tomb remained green and so got the name Green Tomb (Qing Zhong). In fact this is not the reason it became famous, but because of the lady Wang Zhaojun.
Wang Zhaojun, a daughter of a Han family, was elected to enter the imperial palace because of her beauty in the Western Han Dynasty (206BC-24AD). In the year 33 BC Hu Yan Ye Chan Yu, the Emperor of Xiongnu, an ethnic group country, came to ask for her hand in marriage in order to have friendly relations with Han. Zhaojun then married herself off to the grasslands of her own free will; this is called Zhaojun Chu Sai meaning Zhaojun went out beyond the Great Wall, which is a very important incident that happened in the history of Han and Xiongnu.
She made great contributions to the relationship between Han and Xiongnu. In the following sixty years, no wars broke out and people lived a better life and she also spread Han culture and knowledge to the ethnic group of people.
Futurity then built this tomb in the commemoration of this lady. She was not really buried here and nobody knows where and when she died.
Located in the old city of Hohhot, this temple was built in 1580 in the Ming Dynasty. It is one of the biggest and best-preserved temples in Hohhot. The temple is only an incidental scene; the main action is in the streets. Near the area of Dazhao Temple are fascinating adobe houses, which are typically low and squat with decorated glass windows.
Xilamuren, meaning "yellow river" in Mongolian, is located 100 kilometers north of Hohhot. Xilamuren Prairie, commonly known as Taihe, got its name from the Puhui Temple, a Lama temple built in the Qing Dynasty near the Xilamuren River. Constructed in 1769 during the reign of Emperor Qianlong, Puhui Temple was initially a resort of the Sixth Panchen Lama of Xilitu of Huhhot. With engraved beams and pictured purlins, the temple appears quite splendid.
Xilamuren Prairie, a typical example on the plateau, is covered by green grass and fresh flowers every summer and autumn. Due to the continual investment of the local government, reception service is growing better and better. Thus, Xilamuren has become a popular scenic spot in Inner Mongolia.
Engbei Desert Tourist Spot is situated in Wulan Township, Dalad Banner, the Ih Ju League on the south bank of the Huanghe River. It covers an area of 2000 hectares, including 180000-mu desert, and 120000-mu grassland. As a famous central place of controlling sand, this tourist spot attracts a lot of foreign friends to come here either for planting trees or for paying a visit every year. Now more than 1,000,000 trees have been planted and are growing well. The reservoir and pools cover a total area of 10000 mu. There is a natural mineral spring and two resonant sand places. Near the tourist spot there are some other scenic spots, such as the ancient ferry crossing and the tomb of Wang Zhaojun. There are some Mongolian yurts serving as a hotel.
The Mausoleum of Gengghis Khan
The Mausoleum of Gengghis Khan is situated in Ejin Horo Banner, 65 kilometers from Dongsheng City. It is at the foot of the hills and beside a stream. It covers an area of 55544 sq. meters. The mausoleum is made up of three tombs shaped like Mongolian yurts and inlaid with colorful glazed tiles. The central building resembles the historical gate symbolizing a bun-shaped Mongolian yurt. The three inter-linked halls, which look like Mongolian yurts, consist of six parts: a central hall, the east hall, the east and west hall, the west corridors and the back hall.
Now the Darhut people-- the descendants of Gengghis Khan defend the mausoleum all the year round. They hold a memorial ceremony and courtesy four times a year, that is, on March 21, on May 15, on September 12 and on October 3. Thousands of people come to the mausoleum for worship of for sight-seeing. Sometimes an Ordos wedding is held in the mausoleum.
Wanbu Huayanjin Pagoda
Wanbu Huayanjing Pagoda stands eleven miles east of the city. It used to be a place where nearly ten thousand volumes of Huayan Scripture were preserved and so got its name. Wanbu means ten thousand volumes and Huayanjing means Huayan Scripture. The pagoda is white all through thus has another name White Pagoda (Bai Ta).
This pagoda is by far the most exquisite one kept today dating from the Liao Dynasty (907-1125). It is a brick-wood structure about one hundred and fifty feet tall and looks magnificent. There are spiral stairs inside and you can climb up to look far into the distance.
The bricks on its surface were carved with fine pictures. Inside you can find many scriptures written in different language including Chinese, Tibetan, Mongolian, and the languages of Nvzhen, Qidan and other ethnic groups which demonstrate that each nationality has associated and exchanged culture with each other for a long time.
Five-Pagoda Temple (Wuta Si)
Wuta Si, also called Jingangzuo Sheli Baota, is seated in Wuta Jie, the southeastern part of the old town. It is the only remaining part of the Cideng Temple (Cideng Si).
As Jinggangzuo Sheli Baota has five small square-shaped dagobas on its top, it is named Wuta Si. The fifty-two feet tall temple is decorated with glazed tiles. The lower part has many designs related to Buddhism and Jingang Scripture written in Mongolian, Tibetan, and Chinese. More than one thousand small but exquisite gold-plated figures of the Buddha are molded in upper tiers.
The most valuable stonecutting is the one carved on the northern wall. It is the only astronomical map annotated in Mongolian ever discovered in the world.
Xilitu Zhao, also called Xiao Zhao, is situated in the south of Stone Lane (Shitou Xiang), Yu Quan District (Yu Qaun Qu), Hohhot. It is the largest surviving Lama temple in the city. But it was considered a small temple when it was constructed during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
It is said that Xitituge, who was a teacher of Dalai Lama IV, once ascended to the Holy Seat of Dalai Lama in Tibet. Upon his return. he changed his temple's name into Xilitu Zhao. Xilitu means Holy Seat in Tibetan and Zhao means temple in Mongolian.
After the reparations and expansions during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), it achieved its current design. Its architectural complex is the splendid Da Jing Tang. The whole building is in the Han Style, except the main hall, Da Dian, which is of Tibetan Style, decorated with colorful glazed tiles on its inner walls. In the southeast corner of the temple stands a fifty feet high tower, which is quite grandiose.
Xilitu Zhao is still active today. The Buddhist Conference is held in it each year. Sometimes you may come across an exciting religious activity.
Gegentala Prairie, in Mongolian means "a resort from heat". It is situated to the north of Mt. Daqing, 145 kilometers away from Hohhot. The prairie is a scenic spot supported both by the Natural Tourist Bureau and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. You will be truly astonished by the remarkable beauty of the natural scenery on the prairie. You will also be welcomed by the herdsmen and their families who enjoy sharing knowledge of their customs and habits.
Furthermore, you can have a good time horseback riding or experiencing a pleasure trip on a camel. Meanwhile you might get a chance to take in a Mongolian wrestling match or horse race. At night, tourists can gather around a bonfire and listen to folk songs and watch folk dances. And, a first-class reception service makes Gegentala Prairie all the more attractive.