Hohhot (Mongolian: ᠬᠥᠬᠡᠬᠣᠲᠠ, Kökeqota, Khalkha: Хөх хот, Khökh khot; Chinese: 呼和浩特市), abbreviated Hū Shì (Chinese: 呼市); also romanized as Huhehot or Huhhot),also known as Kweisui (Guisui),is the capital of the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region in north-central China, serving as the region's administrative, economic, and cultural centre.
The name of the city in Mongolian means "Blue City" — Kuku-Khoto in Mongolian - although it is also wrongly referred to as the "Green City." The color blue in Mongol culture is associated with the sky, eternity and purity; in Chinese, the name can be translated as Qīng Chéng (Chinese: 青城), literally, "Blue/Green City."
In 1557, the Tümed Mongol leader Altan Khan began building the Da Zhao Temple in the Tümed plain in order to convince the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) government of his leadership of the southern Mongol tribes. The town that grew up around this temple was called the "Blue Town" (Kokegota in Mongolian).:11 The Ming had been blockading the Mongols' access to Chinese iron, cotton, and crop seeds, in order to dissuade them from attacking the northern China plain. But in 1570, Altan Khan successfully negotiated the end of the blockade by the establishment of a vassal-tributary relationship with the Ming, for which the Ming renamed Kokegota to Guīhuā (归花, "Return to Civilization") in 1575. The population of Guihua grew to over 150,000 in the early 1630s as local Mongol princes encouraged the settlement of Han Chinese merchants. Sometimes Mongol armies attacked Guisui, such as the total razing of the city by Ligdan Khan in 1631.:12 Altan Khan and his successors constructed temples and fortress in 1579, 1602 and 1727. The Tümed Mongols had long been semiagricultural there. Hui merchants gathered north of the gate of the city's fortress, building a mosque in 1693. Their descendants forms the nucleus of the modern Hui people's district.
After the Manchus founded the Qing Dynasty (1644−1911), the Kangxi emperor (reigned 1661−1722) sent troops to control the region, which was interesting to the Qing as a center of study of Tibetan Buddhism. The Qing Dynasty built a strong garrison town near Hohhot's southeast called Suiyuan (綏遠), supervising southwestern Inner Mongolia in 1735−39 against Mongol attacks from the north.:13 Guisui and Suiyuan became Guihua District (歸化縣) of Qing China. French missionaries established a Catholic church in Guisui in 1874, but the Christians were forced to flee to Beijing during the antiforeign Boxer Rebellion of 1899-1901.:14 A bubonic plague outbreak in 1917 and the connection of Guisui to railway links in Shanxi, Shaanxi, and Hebei helped renew the economy of Guisui town, by forming links between eastern China and western China's Xinjiang province.:15 In 1918, the American specialist of Inner Asia Owen Lattimore noted Guisui's ethnic composition as "A town purely [Han] Chinese except for the Lama monasteries ... the Tümeds are now practically nonexistent and the nearest Mongolians are to be sought at 50 or 60 miles distance on the plateau.":15
In 1913, the government of the new Republic of China united the garrison town of Suiyuan and the old town of Guihua as Guisui (Chinese: 歸綏; pinyin: Guīsuī; Wade–Giles: Kweisui). Guisui town was the center of Guisui County (歸綏縣) and the capital of Suiyuan Province in northern China. During the progressive Japanese invasion of China in the 1930s, the Japanese created the puppet state of Mengjiang headed by Prince De Wang, who renamed Guisui to "Blue City" ("Hohhot" or Huheshi). After the surrender of Japan in 1945, the Republic of China renamed the city back to its original name, Guisui.:16 The Communist Party of China's forces drove out the Republic's General Fu Zuoyi in Suiyuan during the Chinese Civil War. After the Chinese Revolution in 1949, Suiyuan was renamed Guisui.:16 During the Civil War, in order to gain the support of separatist Mongols, the Communists established the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in Mongol-minority areas from the Republic's provinces of Suiyuan, Xing'an, Chahar, and Rehe. Guisui was chosen as the region's administrative centre in 1952, replacing Zhangjiakou. In 1954, the new People's Republic of China renamed Guisui to Hohhot, though with a different Chinese pronunciation of Huhehaote.:16
A city with a rich cultural background, Hohhot is known for its historical sites and temples and is one of the major tourist destinations of Inner Mongolia. It is also nationally known as the home of China's dairy giants Mengniu and Yili, and was declared "Dairy Capital of China" by the China Dairy Industry Association and the Dairy Association of China in 2005. The city has seen significant development since China's reform and opening began. The city's far east side began development around 2000 and is now home to an artificial lake called Ruyi He, a large number of condominiums mostly built by the biggest local real estate company Gold Horse International Inc., the municipal government, and most of the Autonomous Region's government buildings. The Hohhot City Stadium was built on the city's north side.
Hohhot features a cold semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk), marked by long, cold and very dry winters, hot, somewhat humid summers, strong winds (especially in spring) and monsoonal influence. The coldest month is January, with a daily mean of −11.6 °C (11.1 °F), while the July, the hottest month, averages 22.6 °C (72.7 °F). The annual mean temperature is 6.73 °C (44.1 °F), and the annual precipitation is 398 millimetres (15.7 in), with more than half of it falling in July and August alone. Variability can be very high, however: in 1965 Hohhot recorded as little as 155.1 mm (6.11 in) but six years before than, as much as 929.2 mm (36.58 in), including 338.6 mm (13.33 in) in July of that year. Hohhot is a popular destination for tourists during the summer months because of the nearby Zhaohe grasslands. More recently, due to desertification, the city sees sandstorms on almost an annual basis. The city is generally sunny year-round (but especially so in spring and autumn), with 2,862 hours of bright sunshine annually. Extreme temperatures have ranged from −30.5 °C (−23 °F) to 38.5 °C (101 °F).
|Climate data for Hohhot (1971−2000)|
|Average high °C (°F)||−5
|Average low °C (°F)||−16.8
|Precipitation mm (inches)||2.6
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)||2.5||2.8||3.4||3.7||6.0||8.9||12.9||12.7||8.3||4.5||2.4||1.8||69.9|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||180.7||198.3||245.5||268.6||294.5||291.3||264.9||255.2||252.1||244.8||195.3||171.0||2,862.2|
|Percent possible sunshine||61||66||67||68||66||65||58||60||68||71||66||60||64.7|
|Source: China Meteorological Administration |
The city is administratively at the prefecture-level, meaning that it administers both its urban area and the rural regions in its vicinity. The administrative area includes 4 counties, 4 districts, and a county-level banner; they are further divided into 20 urban sub-districts, and 96 townships. The data here represented is in km² and uses data from 2010 Census.
|1||Huimin District||ᠬᠣᠳᠣᠩ ᠠᠷᠠᠳ ᠤᠨ ᠲᠣᠭᠣᠷᠢᠭ
(Qotoŋ Arad-un toɣoriɣ)
|2||Xincheng District||ᠰᠢᠨᠡ ᠬᠣᠲᠠ ᠲᠣᠭᠣᠷᠢᠭ
(Sin-e Qota toɣoriɣ)
|3||Yuquan District||ᠢᠤᠢ ᠴᠢᠤᠸᠠᠨ ᠲᠣᠭᠣᠷᠢᠭ
(Iui čiuvan toɣoriɣ)
|4||Saihan District||ᠰᠠᠶᠢᠬᠠᠨ ᠲᠣᠭᠣᠷᠢᠭ
|5||Togtoh County||ᠲᠣᠭᠲᠠᠬᠤ ᠰᠢᠶᠠᠨ
|6||Wuchuan County||ᠦᠴᠤᠸᠠᠨ ᠰᠢᠶᠠᠨ
|7||Horinger County||ᠬᠣᠷᠢᠨ ᠭᠡᠷ ᠰᠢᠶᠠᠨ
(Qorin Ger siyan)
|8||Qingshuihe County||ᠴᠢᠩ ᠱᠦᠢ ᠾᠧ ᠰᠢᠶᠠᠨ
(Čiŋ šüi hė siyan)
|9||Tumed Left Banner||ᠲᠦᠮᠡᠳ ᠵᠡᠭᠦᠨ ᠬᠣᠰᠢᠭᠤ
(Tümed Jegün qosiɣu)
|土默特左旗||Tǔmòtè Zuǒ Qí||2,712||312,532||115|
There are over 50 sets of murals in southeastern Hohhot, including a "Horse-tending Image" (牧馬圖). Over 50 pre-modern Buddhist temples and towers.
- Tomb of Wang Zhaojun: Located to about nine kilometers to the south of the center of Hohhot. It is said to be the resting place of Wang Zhaojun, a commoner woman from the Chinese Han Empire who married a Xiongnu king, Chanyu.
- Temple of the Five Pagodas: Completed in 1732 with architecture very similar to that of Indian temples. In its walls there are more than 1,500 figures of Buddha.
- Da Zhao Temple: A Buddhist monastery constructed in 1579, the oldest in the city.
- Inner Mongolia Museum: Main exhibits include dinosaur fossils, historical artifacts of nomadic peoples, and the cultural life of modern nomadic peoples.
Culture and demographics
According to the 2010 Census, the population of Hohhot reached 2,866,615, counting 428,717 inhabitants more than in 2000 (the average annual demographic growth for the period 2000-2010 was of 1.63%). Its built up area is home to 1,980,774 inhabitants (4 urban districts).
The majority of the population of Hohhot are Han Chinese, representing 87.16% of the total population in 2010. Most Han in Hohhot, if their ancestry is traced several decades back, have ancestors from Shanxi, northeast China, or Hebei. Most Mongols in the city speak Standard Chinese. A survey from 1993 of the Inner Mongolia University found that only 8% of Tümed Mongols (the majority tribe in Hohhot) could speak the Mongolian language.:15 A significant portion of the population is of mixed ethnic origin. According to the anthropologist William Jankowiak, who wrote the book Sex, Death, and Hierarchy in a Chinese City (1933) about Huhehot, there is "relatively little different between minority culture and Han culture" in the city. with differences concentrating around minor attributes like food and art choices, and similarities abounding over fundamental issues in ethics, status, life goals, and worldview.:5
The majority of Hohhot residents can converse fluently in Mandarin, but there exists a linguistic divide between "old-town" folk (comprising today's Huimin District), with a large Muslim Hui minority, who tend to converse in raw Hohhot dialect, a branch of the Jin language from neighbouring Shanxi province. This spoken form can be difficult to understand for speakers of other Mandarin Chinese dialects. The newer residents, mostly concentrated in Xincheng and Saihan Districts, speak Hohhot-based Mandarin, the majority also with a noticeable accent and some unique vocabulary. (See Hohhot dialect for further details)
Due to its relatively diverse cultural make-up, and despite its characteristics as a mid-sized Chinese industrial city, the Hohhot street scene has no shortage of ethnic minority elements. Tongdao Road, a major street in the old town area, is decorated with Islamic and Mongol exterior designs on all its buildings. A series of government initiatives in recent years have emphasized Hohhot's identity with ethnic minority groups, especially in increasing Mongol-themed architecture around the city. All street signs as well as public transportation announcements are regulated to be in both Chinese and Mongolian.
Food specialty in the area is mostly focused on Mongol cuisine and dairy products. Commercially, Hohhot is known for being the base of nationally renowned dairy giants Yili and Mengniu. The Mongol drink suutei tsai ("naicha" 奶茶 in Chinese, "milk tea" in English), which has become a typical breakfast selection for anyone living or visiting the city. The city also has rich traditions in the making of hot pot and shaomai. There is also a large selection of Korean and Muslim restaurants, in addition to cuisine from other regions of China.
Ethnic groups in Hohhot, according to the 2000 census, were:
Hohhot lies on the Jingbao Railway from Beijing to Baotou, and is served by two railway stations: Hohhot Station and Hohhot East Station. Trains to Beijing link to destinations to the south and the northeast. The most prominent rail link with Beijing is the overnight K90 train, which has served the Hohhot-Beijing line since the 1980s and is referred to colloquially as the "9-0". Westbound trains go through Baotou and Lanzhou. There are also rail links to most major Inner Mongolian cities and to Ulaanbaatar. Because the quickest trip from Beijing takes around eight and a half hours despite the close distance of the cities, plans for high-speed rail has been discussed for years, and construction of the new high speed railway station began in 2008. The station was completed in 2011 and services 4 slow speed lines, with the high speed lines slated for opening sometime in 2013.
Hohhot's Baita International Airport (IATA:HET) is about 8 km (5.0 mi) from the city centre by car. It has direct flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Wuhan, Hong Kong etc., and to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Long distance buses connect Hohhot to outlying counties, the cities of Baotou, Wuhai, Ordos, and other areas in Inner Mongolia.
The city's public transit system is composed of nearly one hundred bus routes and a large fleet of taxicabs, which are normally green or blue. The bus fare is 1 yuan. The taxi fare begins at 6 yuan.
Hohhot's major north-south thoroughfares are called "Lu" and its east-west thoroughfares are called "Jie". This is roughly equivalent to dividing roads into "street" and "avenue" designation according to direction, a practice used in some North American cities. The largest elevated interchange is near the site of the city's Drum Tower, after which it is named. Several major streets are named after Inner Mongolian leagues; among these, Hulun Buir, Xilin Gol and Xing'an run north-south, while Ulan Chaab runs east-west.
An expressway built in 1997 links Hohhot with Baotou, then known as the Hubao Expressway. In recent years this expressway has been expanded eastwards to Ulaan Chab and Zhangjiakou, and onto Beijing as part of the Jingzang Expressway. The city is en route of China National Highway 110, which runs from Yinchuan to Beijing. China National Highway 209 begins in Hohhot and is southbound towards southern China, with its southern terminus in Guangxi. Hohhot is connected to its northern counties through the Huwu Highway, which was completed in 2006. Previously travel to the northern counties consisted of lengthy navigation through mountainous terrain.
Universities located in Hohhot include:
- Inner Mongolia University
- Inner Mongolia University of Agriculture
- Inner Mongolia Normal University
- Inner Mongolia University of Technology
- Inner Mongolia College of Medicine
- Inner Mongolia College of Finance and Economics
- Hohhot College of Education
- Hohhot College of Police
- Honder College of Inner Mongolia Normal University
High Schools located in Hohhot include:
- "呼和浩特市2010年第六次全国人口普查主要数据（Sixth National Population Census of the People's Republic of China）". 内蒙古新闻网. Retrieved 2012-08-30.
- Perkins (1999), p. 212.
- Chinese "qing" has traditionally been a color between "blue" and "green" in English, leading some modern sources to translate Qing Cheng into English as "Green City" instead of "Blue City," including, for example, the official website of Hohhot.
- Jankowiak, William R (1993). Sex, Death, and Hierarchy in a Chinese City: An Anthropological Account. Columbia University Press. pp. 5, 11–16.
- Zhang, Guanglin (2005). Islam in China. 五洲传播出版社. p. 75. ISBN 978-7-5085-0802-3. Retrieved 29 August 2012.
- Traditional dwellings and settlements review: journal of the International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments. International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments. 1998. p. 12. Retrieved 29 August 2012.
- Encyclopedia Americana. Grolier Incorporated. April 2001. p. 510. ISBN 978-0-7172-0134-1. Retrieved 29 August 2012.
- Huhehaote rainfall
- "中国地面国际交换站气候标准值月值数据集（1971－2000年）" (in Simplified Chinese). China Meteorological Administration. Retrieved 2009-03-17.
- Lonely Planet. Níngxià and Inner Mongolia – Guidebook Chapter. Lonely Planet. p. 25. ISBN 978-1-74321-265-3. Retrieved 29 August 2012.
- (Chinese) Compilation by LianXin website. Data from the Sixth National Population Census of the People's Republic of China
- Zhongguo dui wai jing ji mao yi nian jian bian ji wei yuan hui (1993). Almanac of China's foreign economic relations and trade. Hua run mao yi zi xun you xian gong si. p. 945. Retrieved 29 August 2012.
- Perkins (1999). Encyclopedia of China: The Essential Reference to China, Its History and Culture. Dorothy Perkins. 1st paperback edition: 2000. A Roundtable Press Book, New York, N.Y. ISBN 0-8160-4374-4 (pbk).
Media related to Hohhot at Wikimedia Commons
- Blog and info page for expats in Hohhot
- Hohhot government website (simplified Chinese)
- (English) Official website
- Hohhot travel guide from Wikivoyage