"The blue city" Top 5 Page for this destination Hohhot by mke1963

Hohhot Travel Guide: 57 reviews and 139 photos

Hohhot, the regional capital of the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region, is a city of 1 million people lying on the Heihe (Black River), 600km north-west of Beijing. It feels a lot further because of the mountain barriers in Shanxi, Hebei and in Inner Mongolia itself.
There is a lot to see in and around Hohhot, but very little information available unless you read Chinese. The travel agencies will focus your attention on a small number of city sites and try to sell you a trip to the grasslands north of the nearby Daqingshan. But with a lot of patience, and as much ingenuity, you will be able to see sites of ancient cultures, Mongolian khans and Chinese emperors through the ages, as well as stretches of both the Zhao and Han Great Walls. It's not easy, but it can be a serious adventure finding and visiting many of these spots.

Hohhot started life as a collection of places, with Fengzhou probably the oldest. It now lies 18km east of the city, by the airport, but the city proper was founded in the 1540s by Altan Khan, the ruler of the Mongolians in the area. He called his city Koke kota, or blue house, in Mongolian. Later the city developed around a place on the banks of a small river, and was named Guihuacheng (city beyond civilisation) in 1581. A Ming town, Suiyuan, appeared just two kilometres north-east of this, and came to be the most important place in the region. It gave its name to one of the huge administrative areas into which Inner Mongolia was then divided.
Later, the name Koke kota evolved to become Huhhot and then Huhehote, so it was easier for the Chinese to promounce!

Hohhot lies at the northern edge of the Tumdchuan plain, through which the Xiaoheihe and Daheihe (Small and Big Black Rivers) flow. The plain is fertile and productive, and an attraction to the pastoral Han Chinese, and migration from central and south China followed as soon as the area became safer.
Behind Hohhot, to the north, lies the Daqingshan, an outpost of the longer Yinshan mountains that fringe the northern loop of the Yellow River. They rise one thousand metres above the plain, and brood over the city in the haze: they have been known in the past as the green mountains, the blue mountains and the black mountains. The foothills start in the northern suburbs of the city.
Hohhot, sadly, is heavily polluted - worst than most cities in China. This is partly because of the huge amounts of heavy industry lying in the western half of the city: a steelworks, a power station, a brewery and chemical industries visibly pump significant amounts of strange coloured smoke into the sky.
Catch Hohhot while you can: the old city will be gone completely within a couple of years.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Mongol warriors, Chinese princesses, ancient cultures
  • Cons:Heavily polluted; little information in English
  • In a nutshell:Worth a few days for exploring - an adventure!
  • Last visit to Hohhot: Aug 2004
  • Intro Written Aug 25, 2004
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Reviews (21)

Travelogues (1)

Comments (5)

  • Apr 28, 2010 at 2:44 AM

    Hi Mike, thanx for your tips about Hohhot! I will be going with a friend of mine this weekend...could you mail me the telephone number of your contact? That would be nice! Thank you!!

  • Sep 1, 2009 at 7:24 PM

    Hi, I am interested by your contact, Can you give me it? Thank you

  • victorwkf's Profile Photo
    Jan 17, 2007 at 7:35 AM

    Very hot tips on hohhot, thanks for sharing!

  • Saagar's Profile Photo
    Feb 8, 2006 at 2:07 AM

    Great opening photo!

  • St_Vincent's Profile Photo
    Dec 2, 2005 at 3:08 AM

    I just dipped into one of your many pages at random. Fascinating writing and great historical information, I loved the Boy Monk piece. Thanks


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