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Datong

Datong City is the capital of the Shanxi Province .  It is located in the north of the province and is protected by the Yinshan Mountain in the north and the Taihang Mountain in the south.  Part of the Great Wall passes through the city.  Datong has a history of 2,000 years and is a famous historical and cultural city in North China .  There are many historical relics around Datong , including the Yungang Grottoes, Huayan Temple , Shanhua Temple , Nine-Dragon Wall, and the Guanyin temple.  It is know as the "sea of coal" due to its rich coal reserves.

As a historic and cultural city, Datong has many folk dramas and quite a few modern opera troupes, so with song and dance ensembles, that often perform in its theaters and stadiums.

The best time to visit Datong is from May to October.

Main Attractions:

Yungang Grottoes - It is located on the Wuzhou Mountain , with 53 grottoes and more than 51,000 stone statues.  The grottoes, built along one side of Wuzhou mountain, stretch nearky 1 kilometer from east to west.  They are equally famous as the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang and the Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang .  It was first carved in the second year of Xing'an's reign in the Northern Wei Dynasty, and has a history of more than 1,500 years. They represent the largest group of examples of China 's stone carving art.

Nine-Dragon Wall -  The wall is covered by a roof built with glazed tiles.  Its foundation has very rich and ancient designs.  It has 41 carvings of dragons playing with pearls.  It also has carvings of other animals such as ox, sheep, horse, deer, rabbit, dog, lion, elephant, and the Chinese unicorn.

Wooden Pagoda of Yingxian County - It was first built in the second year of Qingning's reign in the Liao Dynasty (1056), and has endured eight large earthquakes.  The whole pagoda is built with wooden structures, is octagon-shaped and has nine floors.  It is the largest and the most ancient pagoda in the world.

Huayan Temple - It belongs to the Huayan Sect of Buddhism It consists of two parts: Daxiong Hall, the upper part which contains colorful murals and Buddhist statues, and the Bhag Hall, with thee main Buddhist statues representing the past, present and the future; an altar with 28 other color statues including that of the smiling Buddha.

Xuankong (Overhanging) Temple -  The temple hangs on the cliffs of Cuiping Peak in the Jinlong Valley of the Hengshan Mountain . It is a rare example of ancient architecture in China .  Mechanical principles were well used in the construction of this temple, which now stands on and hangs to outthrust rocks.  The temple looks like a beautiful carving hanging on the steep cliffs.  It has 40 halls and towers with more than 80 clay figures of Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism.

Hengshan Mountain Scenic Area - The mountain is connected with Yanmen Pass in the west and Taihang Mountain in the east, and has 108 peaks.  Famous scenic spots are Tianfeng Peak , Cuiping Peak , Jinlong Valley , Gusao Cliff, Ancient Stone Cave , Qianfo Peak and Xuankong Temple .

Wutai Mountains - Wutai means five platforms, which stands for the five peaks of the mountains.  The five peaks were said to be the places where the Wenshu Bodhisattva performed rites.  The Wutai mountains are one of the best places to be to escape the summer heat.

Steam Locomotives - Datong Locomotive factory is one of China 's largest producers of steam locomotives.  The factory has a museum which displays the largest variety of steam locomotives in China .  Also on display are: the oldest steam locomotive of China used by Empress Dowager Cixi, train bells, lights, and other locomotive tools.  There is also a circuit railway for visitors to enjoy a drive.

 


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