From top down, left to right: Datong panorama; Shanhua Temple; Huayan Temple; Yungang Grottoes; Tower at Lingyan Temple; Temple of Confucius (Wenmiao); Guandi Temple; Yinghui Gate of the City Wall
|Coordinates (Datong municipal government): 40°05′49″N 113°22′01″E / 40.097°N 113.367°ECoordinates: 40°05′49″N 113°22′01″E / 40.097°N 113.367°E|
|Country||People's Republic of China|
|Municipal seat||Pingcheng District|
|• Type||Prefecture-level city|
|• Party Secretary||Zhang Jifu|
|• Prefecture-level city||14,068 km2 (5,432 sq mi)|
|• Urban||3,563 km2 (1,376 sq mi)|
|• Metro||976 km2 (377 sq mi)|
|Elevation||1,042 m (3,419 ft)|
|• Prefecture-level city||3,105,591|
|• Density||220/km2 (570/sq mi)|
|• Urban density||570/km2 (1,500/sq mi)|
|• Metro density||1,800/km2 (4,800/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+8 (China Standard)|
|ISO 3166 code||CN-SX-02|
|Administrative division code||140200|
|Literal meaning||Great Unity|
|Literal meaning||Peaceful City County|
Pacified City County
|Literal meaning||Western Capital|
Datong is a prefecture-level city in northern Shanxi Province in the People's Republic of China. It is located in the Datong Basin at an elevation of 1,040 metres (3,410 ft) and borders Inner Mongolia to the north and west and Hebei to the east. As of the 2020 census, it had a population of 3,105,591 of whom 1,790,452 lived in the built-up (or metro) area made of the 2 out 4 urban districts of Pingcheng and Yungang as Yunzhou and Xinrong are not conurbated yet.
The area of present-day Datong was close to the state of Dai, which was conquered by the Zhao clan of Jin in 457 BC. It was a frontier land between the agricultural Chinese and the nomads of the Great Steppe. The area was well known for its trade in horses.
Pingcheng County (平城县) formed part of the Qin commandery of Yanmen. It continued under the Han, who founded a site within present-day Datong in 200 BC following their victory against the Xiongnu nomads at the Battle of Baideng. Located near a pass to Inner Mongolia along the Great Wall, Pingcheng blossomed during the following period and became a stop-off point for camel caravans moving from China into Mongolia and beyond. It was sacked at the end of the Eastern Han. Pingcheng became the capital of Han/Xianbei Northern Wei dynasty from AD 398–494. The Yungang Grottoes were constructed during the later part of this period (460–494). During the mid to late 520s, Pingcheng was the seat of Northern Wei's Dai Commandery.
The city was renamed Datong in 1048. It was the Xijing ("Western Capital") of the Jurchen Jin dynasty prior to being sacked by the Mongols. It was sacked again at the end of the Ming in 1649, but promptly rebuilt in 1652.
By 1982 a portion of its city walls remained so it became one of the National Famous Historical and Cultural Cities that year. Prior to 2008, about 100,000 people lived in the old city. In 2008 mayor Geng Yanbo decided to redevelop much of the inner city, with over 3 square kilometres (1.2 sq mi) being redeveloped, and with Geng becoming known as the "Demolition Mayor". Geng and his group anticipated that 30,000 to 50,000 people would remain in the old city.
In 2013 Geng left his position. Su Jiede of Sixth Tone wrote that much of the city was still under construction at the time and that Geng's efforts resulted in "a half-finished city center and a complicated legacy" and that "To critics, the city had spent enormous sums of money without much to show for it." By 2020 the population of the old city was below 30,000 and there were fewer governmental facilities available for the residents. That year Su stated that the old city "still presents a headache for the local government."
Su Jiede wrote that since Pingcheng District, which had most of its urbanized area, had 1,105,699 people as of 2020, "Datong is a small city by Chinese standards".
Datong is the northernmost city of Shanxi, and is located in the Datong Basin, with an administrative area spanning latitude 39° 03'–40° 44' N and longitude 112° 34'–114° 33' E. The urban area is surrounded on three sides by mountains, with passes only to the east and southwest. Within the prefecture-level city elevations generally increase from southeast to northwest. Datong borders Ulanqab (Inner Mongolia) to the northwest and Zhangjiakou (Hebei) to the east, Shuozhou (Shanxi) to the southwest, and Xinzhou (Shanxi) to the south.
The well-known Datong Volcanic Arc lies nearby in the Datong Basin.
It is 250 kilometres (160 mi) west of Beijing.
Datong has a continental, monsoon-influenced steppe climate (Köppen BSk), influenced by the 1,000 metres (3,300 ft)+ elevation, with rather long, cold, very dry winters, and very warm summers. Monthly mean temperatures range from −10.5 °C (13.1 °F) in January to 22.6 °C (72.7 °F) in July; the annual mean temperature is 7.33 °C (45.2 °F). Due to the aridity and elevation, diurnal temperature variation is often large, averaging 13.2 °C (23.8 °F) annually. There barely is any precipitation during winter, and more than 3⁄4 of the annual precipitation occurs from June to September. With monthly percent possible sunshine ranging from 54% in July to 66% in October, sunshine is abundant year-round, and the city receives 2,671 hours (about 60% of the possible total) of bright sunshine per year.
|Climate data for Datong (1981–2010 normals, extremes 1951–2010)|
|Record high °C (°F)||11.2
|Average high °C (°F)||−3.4
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−10.5
|Average low °C (°F)||−16.4
|Record low °C (°F)||−29.1
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||1.7
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)||2.0||2.5||4.5||4.1||7.0||9.8||13.5||12.2||8.8||4.8||2.8||1.9||73.9|
|Average relative humidity (%)||53||46||42||38||40||49||62||67||61||54||51||52||51|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||184.1||189.4||222.3||243.5||272.5||265.7||244.8||233.9||234.6||226.8||185.8||167.5||2,670.9|
|Percent possible sunshine||62||63||60||62||62||59||54||55||63||66||62||58||61|
|Source: China Meteorological Administration (precipitation days and sunshine 1971–2000)|
(2003 est.)
|Pingcheng District||平城区||Píngchéng Qū||580,000||246||2,358|
|Yungang District||云冈区||Yúngāng Qū||280,000||684||409|
|Xinrong District||新荣区||Xīnróng Qū||110,000||1,102||109|
|Yunzhou District||云州区||Yúnzhōu Qū||170,000||1,501||113|
|Yanggao County||阳高县||Yánggāo Xiàn||290,000||1,678||173|
|Tianzhen County||天镇县||Tiānzhèn Xiàn||210,000||1,635||128|
|Guangling County||广灵县||Guǎnglíng Xiàn||180,000||1,283||140|
|Lingqiu County||灵丘县||Língqiū Xiàn||230,000||2,720||85|
|Hunyuan County||浑源县||Húnyuán Xiàn||350,000||1,965||178|
|Zuoyun County||左云县||Zuǒyún Xiàn||140,000||1,314||107|
The Yungang Grottoes are a collection of shallow caves located 16 km (9.9 mi) west of Datong. There are over 50,000 carved images and statues of Buddhas and bodhisattvas within these grottoes, ranging from 4 centimeters to 7 meters tall. Most of these icons are around 1000 years old.
Within the city itself, there are a few surviving sites of historical interest such as the Nine-Dragon Wall, the Huayan Monastery (华严寺; Huáyán Sì), and the Shanhua Temple. Further afield is the Hanging Temple built into a cliff face near Mount Heng. Most of the historical sites in this region date to the Tang and Ming dynasties, but the Hanging Temple dates to the Northern Wei dynasty (386–534).
The railway locomotive works (see below) began to attract increasing numbers of railway enthusiasts from the 1970s. When the construction of steam locomotives was phased out, the authorities did not want to lose this valuable tourism market, and pondered the possibility of developing a steam railway operating center as an attraction. A number of study visits were undertaken to the East Lancashire Railway at Bury, and a twinning arrangement was concluded with that town.
In 2010, work began on reconstructing the city's 14th century Ming dynasty defensive wall. The controversial reconstruction project was in its final phase at the end of 2014. The documentary The Chinese Mayor documents two years of vigorous and highly controversial (due to summary demolition of about 200,000 homes) effort by Mayor Geng Yanbo to push the reconstruction project forward.
Datong is known for its knife-cut noodles.
The GDP per capita was ¥17,852 (US$2,570) per annum in 2008, ranked no. 242 among 659 Chinese cities. Coal mining is the dominant industry of Datong. Its history and development are very much linked to this commodity.
Development zones Datong Economic and Technological Development Zone
Due to its strategic position, it is also an important distribution and warehousing center for Shanxi, Hebei and Inner Mongolia.
Datong is an old fashioned coal mining city, and still sits on significant reserves of this commodity. Consequently, it has developed a reputation as one of China's most polluted cities. The Datong Coal Mining Group is based here and is China's third largest such enterprise. Datong is indeed however an emerging economy, as the city seeks to loosen its dependence on coal, introduce more environmentally friendly and efficient methods of extraction and move into other areas of business services. The local government has continued to upgrade its pillar coal sector (and related industries like coal chemicals, power and metallurgy), while also developing "substitute industries" such as machinery manufacturing, tourism and distribution, warehousing and logistics services. This has had some impact. Datong's GDP grew by 5.1 percent in 2008 to RMB56.6 billion.
While coal will continue to dominate, Datong has been identified as one of the key cities requiring redevelopment, with part of this being in environmental cleanup, rehabilitation and industrial refocusing. Datong is a pilot city for rehabilitation studies following years of pollution. To this end it has already struck up strong relationships with other cities worldwide with similar backgrounds, and has begun plans, for example, to develop a tourism base focused on steam engine technology with antique locomotives to be used along designated tracks.
Datong has a large railway locomotive works 'Datong locomotive factory', where the 'Aiming Higher' (Chinese: 前进; pinyin: Qiánjìn) class of steam locomotive was built as late as the 1970s. Steam locomotive production ended in the late 1980s and the plant's main products (as of 2010) is mainline electric locomotives.