Hohhot – One of China’s Most Historical and Ethnically Diverse Destinations

North China is home to the autonomous region of Inner Mongolia, which is where you’ll find the city of Hohhot. It’s known as the most important community in the region and is sandwiched by the Yellow River and the Yinshan Mountain. It’s quite a cultural melting pot as there are three dozen different ethnic groups residing here. These include Mongolian, Manchu, Han, Hui, Dawoer, Tibetan, Elunchun, Korean, and Ewenke.

The total area of the sprawling city is 6,650 square miles and it houses a population of just over 2.8 million people. The city is made up of four counties and districts as well as an economic and technological development Zone. Some of the districts are Yuquan, Huimin, Xincheng, and Saihan and the counties are Tokto, Horinger, Qingshuihe, and Wuchuan.

Hohhot(photo credit: derikz)

The city of Hohhot has a long and storied history which stretches back about 2300 years. It was built around 476 BC and about 800 years later Horinger County was established as a capital named Shile by Xianbei ethnic groups. Between 916 and 1125, during the Liao period, it was called Fegzhou.

Then during the Ming Dynasty between 1368 and 1644 it was named Hohhot, but then changed to Guihua. In 1737 it was renamed again, this time as Guisui, and finally in 1954, when it became Inner Mongolia’s capital it was reverted to Hohhot.

There are four distinct seasons in the city due to the region’s climate. It’s not the hottest place in the world as the annual average temperature is just over 42 degrees Fahrenheit. The winters are quite long and cold with the temperature dropping to 14 degrees on average. The summers are pleasantly warm as the average temperature climbs between 59 and 79 degrees.

Weather-wise, the best time to take a trip to Hohhot is between April and October, with mid-July to September usually being the warmest months.

There are numerous arts and crafts and products that can be found in the city that originate from all over the Inner Mongolia region. You’ll find Mongolian carpets, silverware, camel-hair products, cashmere, decorative deer antlers, traditional knives, and oleaster curtains. When it comes to traditions and the culture, you’ll find some colorful traditional Mongolian costumes while wrestling and folk songs are popular forms of entertainment.

There’s a lot of natural beauty here with the Gegentala and Xilamuren grasslands and one of the best ways to explore the region is actually by horseback. You can take your time while roaming over the huge grassland areas and check out the way of life of the local herdsmen. If you’d like to see how the local residents entertain themselves a visit to the exciting Nadam Fair is a must.

Hohhot has many temples and historical sites, making it one of the region’s most-visited cities. It’s also home to some of the nation’s top dairy producers and is known as the dairy capital of China. Some of the top sites to visit include the Five-Pagoda Temple, Xilituzhao Palace, and the Dazhao Temple.

There’s a local airport and the transportations system in Hohhot is very reliable and modern. The airport handles about 70 domestic and international routes with direct flights to places such as Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou.

The train station also connects the city to other centers such as Hailar, Beijing, Baotou, Lanzhou, Xian, Yinchuan, Nanjing, Shangai, and Ningbo. You can even take a train to Moscow and Ulan Bator. Many of the major routes are also covered by bus and getting around the city can be easily done by taxi and bus.

China is full of cultural and historical cities with Hohhot being one of the most scenic and interesting of them all. You’ll find restaurants and accommodations in all price ranges to fit your travel budget.

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