A Brief Introduction to Datong
Datong is located in the very north of Shanxi Province at the junction of Shanxi Province, Hebei Province and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region，between the inner and outer Great Wall. Datong is the second largest city in Shanxi Province and one of the first group of twenty four historic and ancient cities of China proclaimed by the State Council. The city is rated as ‘Top Tourist City of China’ and ‘the 9th ancient capital of China’. Covering an area of 14,100 square kilometers, it has a population of 3.4 million. Datong city has jurisdiction over four districts and seven counties, these are the urban, southern suburb, Xinrong and coal mine districts and Zuoyun, Datong, Yanggao, Tianzhen, Hunyuan, Guangling and Lingqiu counties. Datong is located at latitude 40° north at an average height above sea level of 1,000 meters. It experiences a continental monsoon climate with four distinct seasons, cold and dry in winter, cool in spring and autumn, moderate in summer with an average temperature of 20℃, thus it enjoys a reputation of summer resort. Datong has a history spanning over 2,300 years. During the Warring States Period (475BC-221BC), the region which forms present day Datong was under the rule of King Zhao Wuling who was famous for one important political event-reforms consisting of ‘wearing barbarian uniform and the use of cavalry in battle’. King Zhao Wuling set up three prefectures in present day Datong, namely Yunzhong, Yanmen and Dai Prefectures. After the Qin, Han and West Jin Dynasty, Datong experienced its golden age in the ancient period as the capital city of the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534), as the western Capital of a further two dynasties which were the Liao (907-1125) and Jin (1115-1234) Dynasties, and as a city of strategic importance in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The most glamorous time of the city in ancient times was during the period when Datong became the capital city of northern China for nearly one hundred years in the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534) with six emperors and one king in power successively. During this period Datong was the political, economic and cultural center of northern China. From time immemorial, the forefathers of different nationalities have lived on this land creating a profound ancient culture and magnificent cultural relics. In recent years, the Datong Communist Party Committee and the Datong Municipal Government have set out to place Datong as the regional hub linking the capital, Beijing, to its east, Shanxi Province to the south and Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region and Russian to the north by adopting a principle of building beautiful, rich and happy city. Datong, an ancient capital city with unique charm and a famous cultural city full of energy now presents with a new face to the world.
Chinese Edited and English Translated by Datong Foreign and Overseas Chinese Affairs Office
English Revised By Adrian Frost (UK)