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The city of Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in northern China, located about 400km west of Beijing, is at an altitude of 1,500 meters above sea level. It covers an area of 6 thousand square kilometers.Hohhot has been known by many names in its time. The area, for over a thousand years, was a popular resting spot for Mongol nomads, and grew to become the "Blue City", an allusion to the azure skies that are rarely troubled by cloud. The Hohhot city itself was officially established in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD), growing largely due to its religious buildings, and came to be called the City of Temples and Lamaseries (Zhaocheng).
The Hohhot city was officially designated as the capital of the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Prefecture in 1952, and has now become the prefecture's economic and political center. With a population of just over 800,000, Hohhot is not overly big, although is the second largest in the province. Much has changed in the city since the early twentieth century, and its fame as city of temples and lamaseries is somewhat offset by the predominant high-rises and modern buildings that now make up much of the city. The majority of industry in Hohhot is centered upon machine building, refineries, other factories and the production of hide and wool. Tourism is also a big earner, as anyone meeting the train station's swarms of touts will soon find out.
Nowadays Hohhot is the Han Chinese that is of the majority here, closely followed by the Mongols that make up 11% of the total population and the Muslim Hui Minority. Much of the history of this area may have been lost from the face of the modern city but there are a few things that bring back the past. One is the symbol of Inner Mongolia, the rearing horse that has been appearing all around Hohhot, a throwback to the days when screaming hordes of Mongols conquered over half the known world. This was best highlighted when a stone figure of Chairman Mao was removed from the city center's lively Xinhua Square, to be replaced by a statue of a galloping horse.
The main mineral deposits on Hohhot are graphite, limestone, marble, and dark-red pottery. Hohhot is a center of China's wool industries. Its industries also include machine building, food processing, electronics, chemicals, and construction materials.
As a tourist resort, Hohhot has a modern reliable transport network, excellent hotels and large shopping centers. The Hohhot city brings together specialties from all over Inner Mongolia, ranging from Mongolian silverwares, carpets, cashmere, camel hair products, traditional knives, decorative deer antlers, oatmeal and various dairy products to fancy Mongolian costumes.
Hohhot is a historical and cultural city. It has many ancient relics, including the Dazhao Temple, Gegentala Grassland, Five Pagode Temple, Zhaojun Tomb, the Xilamuren Grassland and the Xilituzhao Palace.