Updated: 2024-02-20


Datong, a city in the northern part of Shanxi province, borders Inner Mongolia autonomous region to the north and Hebei province to the east. [Photo/VCG]

Datong is a city located in the northern part of Shanxi province that borders Inner Mongolia autonomous region to the north and Hebei province to the east. It consists of four districts and six counties and covers an area of 14,000 square kilometers. The population of the city in 2022 was 3.10 million.

Datong has a temperate continental monsoon-influenced steppe climate with mild summers and long cold winters. The annual average temperature is 5.5 Celsius and the annual average rainfall is about 370 millimeters.

Sunshine is abundant year-round in Datong, which receives 2,973 hours of bright sunshine per year, thus it boasts great potential for solar energy utilization. It mainly grows farm produce such as carp, sorghum, corn and coarser cereals.

Datong has long been famous for its rich and high quality coal resources, with proven reserves of 38 billion tons. Its coal production export and external sales volume rank first among major coal supply cities across China. Relying on its coal resources, Datong has an annual power generation capacity of about 36.04 billion kWh, making it an important powerhouse in North China. 

In addition to coal, the city has 41 other mineral resources, including iron, copper, aluminum, limestone and marble. 

Datong's long history, which dates back to the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC), has left rich cultural heritage in the city, which is home to 346 cultural relics sites, including one UNESCO world cultural heritage site, that are under protection. 

The Yungang Grottoes built in the Northern Wei Dynasty (386–557) are one of the country's largest grottoes. The Nine-Dragon Wall built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) is the earliest, largest, and best preserved dragon wall in China. The Hanging Temple on Hengshan Mountain is the only high-altitude hanging building in the country.

The city's gross domestic product totaled 187.15 billion yuan ($26 billion) in 2023, increasing 5.1 percent year-on-year.