Datong Travel Guide

Datong Travel Guide


Shanxi Province MapDatong City is situated in northern Shanxi Province. It is bordered by Inner Mongolia to the North and Hebei Province to the east.Covering an area of 14,176 square kilometers , it has four districts and seven counties under its prefecture. It is the second largest city in Shanxi Province with a population of 3.18 million.As the second largest city in Shanxi Province,Datong City is one of the 24 famous historical and cultural cities in China due to its ever prosperous history.

Known as the 'City of the Coal', Datong has developed into the second largest industrial city in Shanxi due to its advantage in energy. Its large reserves of coal make it a very important energy base for China. Since it is a key resource city, transportation here are quite convenient, especially by road and by train. Series of railways and roads work as a huge net to connect the city with many others.

Datong Facts

English Name: Datong
Chinese Name: 大同(Dā Tóng)
Population: 3.18 million  (Nationalities: Han, Mongolia, Manchu )                        

Location: in northern  Shanxi Province, north China
Urban Land Area: 14,176 sq km (5473 square miles)
Postal Code: 030000
Area Code: 0351


History of Datong

During its long history, China has had many capitals. More than 1,500 years ago, Datong was the honored city. Its border location in the northern part of Shanxi Province, a notch south of Inner Mongolia, made it a convenient meeting place for many nationalities to exchange goods and ideas.
In the first century, Buddhism made its way from India to China, where it flourished. It became the state religion during the Northern Wei Dynasty, and in 460 A.D. work began on a temple/monastery complex to sanctify the Buddha, The Enlightened One. For the next three decades, monks and slaves labored alongside each other with simple hand tools. Together they honeycombed the sandstone mountain and filled countless niches with carvings that illustrate the philosophical concept of the “thousand Buddhas,” symbolizing the Buddha’s omnipresence through time and space.


What To See ? 

In a valley at Yungang, some 16km west of Datong City, there are more than 45 recesses dug into the hills and filled with Buddhist statues of various sizes and shapes, 51,000 altogether, later called Yungang Grottoes ( Cloud Ridge Caves ) listed UNESCO World Heritage in 2001. 
At the foot of Mt.Hengshan, 65 kilometers from downtown Datong City is located Hanging Monastery with over 1500-year history, first built 491 AD. The temple hangs on the west cliff of a hill with over 50 meters above the ground, hence Hanging Monastery. The biggest attraction of Hanging Temple is the fact that the temple includes Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. 

Four hundred years later after Northern Wei Dynasty, Datong was designated as the west capital of Liao Dynasty (916 - 1125). Located in the Yingxian County 75 km south of Datong, Yingxian Wooden Pagoda was first built in 1056 during the Liao Dynasty. It is the oldest and largest wooden Buddhist pagoda in existence in the world. It is admired as one of the "Three Wonders of Pagoda in the world" together with Eiffel Tower in France and leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy.

Yanmenguan Great Wall is located in the depths of Yanmen Mountain, North China's Shanxi Province.Yanmenguan Great Wall is 19 kilometers to the north of Daixian County, in Shanxi Province. It is one of the three passes of the Inner Great Wall.  In the city center of Datong, there are many historic sites like Huayan Temple, Nine-dragon Wall and Shanhua Temple with over 1000-year history.


When to go ?

Situated at the northeastern edge of the Loess Plateau (Huangtu gaoyuan), Datong has a continental monsoon climate with four distinctive four seasons. The average annual temperature is about 6.8 degrees Celsius, with sharp temperature difference between day and night. The temperatures considerably throughout the year, with a high of 38 degrees Celsius in the summer months of July and August, and a low of around -25 in January and February. 


How to get there ?

As a key posiiton between Hubeip province and the northwest area, Datong has founded a dimensional traffic systerrn fromed by railway, highway and aviation. Datong’s civilian airport was put into service in May, 205. Jianbao, Daqin and Tongpu Railwya meets here. 

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