Best Cities to Visit in China (III): Datong

Best Cities to Visit in China (III): Datong

Home >> Best Cities to Visit in China (III): Datong

Best Cities to Visit in China: Datong

 

A modern-day coal-mining town, Datong may not be the prettiest place you'll ever see, but its strategic importance over the centuries has left behind some major sights in the surrounding area, including the sublime Yungang Grottoes and the Hanging Monastery. 

 

Near China's northern frontier, Datong has long been a frontier town just inside the sweep of the Great Wall (which even doubled back in some centuries to protect southern and western access as well). As such, invaders from the north have occasionally moved in following an imperial collapse and made it their own. 

 

Best Cities to Visit in China: Datong

 

The most famous examples of this were the Tuoba, who arrived in the 4th century CE and ruled over the Northern Wei dynasty, and the Khitan, who arrived in 905 CE and ruled over the Liao dynasty (907 to 1125). 

 

The Khitan were a continuous threat to China's borders, and the Chinese finally conspired to form an alliance with another northern nation, the Jin, to drive them out once and for all. Once this happened, however, the Jin proceeded to drive out the Chinese as well and wound up ruling over an even larger part of north China than the Khitan ever had.

 

Best Cities to Visit in China: Datong

 

What's here? There's not much to see in town except for a gorgeous Nine Dragon Screen – all that remains of a Ming dynasty palace – and the two main temples: the Huayan Temple, which was built by the Khitan, and the smaller Shanhua Temple, which was renovated under the Jin. Most sightseeing is outside of town. Talk to CITS in the train station to arrange guided tours of the surrounding sights in English.

 

Best Cities to Visit in China – Datong

 

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Best-Cities-to-Visit-in-China-III-Datong Best Cities to Visit in China (III): Datong