Geography of Inner Mongolia
Inner Mongolia (Nei Mongo) Autonomous Region is situated in the north-most part of China, sharing a common border with the U.S.S.R. and the People’s Republic of Mongolia. The capital city is Hohhot. The Autonomous Region of Inner Mongolia was set up on the 1st of May, 1947, it is the first autonomous region of minority nationalities in China. It has an area of over 1.183 million square kilometers (about 1/8 of total China area) and a population of 24.71 million (2010), comprising the Mongolian, Han, Daur, Ewenki, Oroqen, Hui, Manchu, Korean and other nationalities. Mongolian shares 18% of total population in Inner Mongolia.
Inner Mongolia Climate
The Region is bitterly cold in winter and warm in summer. The average annual temperature is in the range between -1°C and 10°C (30.2°F and 50°F). In January, the coldest month, the average temperature ranges from -23°C (-9.4°F) in the north-eastern part of the Region to -10°C (14°F) in the south-western part; in July, the warmest month, the average temperature ranges from 19°C (66.2°F) in the north-eastern part to 24°C (75.2°F) in the south-western part. The temperature in the northern part is lower on the average than in the other places. The frost-free period varies from 90 to 160 days, and the average annual precipitation is between 50mm and 450mm, mostly in late summer and early autumn.
Brief History of Inner Mongolia
During the period of Warring States, Inner Mongolia was partly occupied by the State of Zhao and partly inhabited by the Xiongnus—a minority nationality in the northern part of China. During the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. – 220), it covered the area occupied by the Xiongnus and prefectures of Wuyuan and Shoufang. In the Tang Dynasty, the autonomous prefectures of Feng and Seng were set up here. In Yuan Dynasty, it was divided into the prefectures of Shangdu, Jining, Dening, Jinzhou, Yinchang, etc. It became Inner Mongolia in Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Over the long years in history, Nei Mongol was mainly a place where the nomadic nationalities lived and moved about. At the turn of the 12th and 13th centuries, under the rule of Genghis Khan, many tribes were unified into a single nationality with its own language, and the Yuan Empire was thus founded. After the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), Inner Mongolia has been placed successively under the rule of the Qing Dynasty, the Northern Warlords, the Kuomintang reactionaries and the Japanese imperialist.
What to See
Inner Mongolia has a peculiar natural scenery, long history and brilliant culture. There are many historic sites in this area. Some of the key historic sites are:
Wudangzhao Monastery in Baotou is a vast complex and used to be the residence of the highest ranking lama in Inner Mongolia and now it is the only intact Tibetan Buddhist monastery there.
Inner Mongolia is the hometown of Genghis Khan (1162-1227), the great leader of Mongolians. Genghis Khan’s Mausoleum, located 185 kilometers (about 71 miles) south of Baotou, holds his clothing buried in his memory.
Dazhao Temple is one of the biggest and best-preserved temples in Hohhot. Xilituzhao Palace is the largest surviving Lama temple in Hohhot.
Zhaojun Tomb, six miles to the south of Hohhot, is located on one of the most beautiful scenes of ancient times. A legend says that each year, when it turned cold and grass became yellow, only this tomb remained green and so it got the name Green Tomb (Qing Zhong).
But what is most attractive about Inner Mongolia is its natural beauty- Xilamuren Grassland. The mushroom-like yurts, bright sky, fresh air, rolling grass and the flocks and herds moving like white clouds on the remote grassland, all contribute to make the scenery a very relaxing one. While visiting the place you may try different activities such as Mongolian wrestling, horse & camel riding, rodeo competitions, archery, visiting traditional families and enjoying the graceful Mongolian singing and dancing. The best time to visit the grassland is definitely during the traditional Mongolian Nadam Festival period when there is a better chance to both participate and feel the lively atmosphere of the grassland life.
You can also visit deserts in Inner Mongolia. The deserts are located in the western part of the province: the most famous and visited ones are the Badain Jaran Desert, Tengger Desert and Kubuqi Desert. Early autumn (from the middle of August to the end of September) is the best time to explore the desert as the temperatures are very temperate.
Resonant Sand Gorge means “the desert with horns” in the Mongolian language. Located the east side of Kubuqi Desert, this site is in a crescent shape with gold color. Resonant Sand Gorge is featured by its amazing desert landscape and the whispering sand dunes. In the conditions of the dry climate, people will hear sounds like a bugle and drumbeat in the sand if they surf along the slopes of the dunes.