The Great Lamasery (Dà Zhào, 大召), also referred to as Dazhao Temple, was once one of many Buddhist temples in Hohhot. Today, the large temple and lamasery sits within walking distance of two of Hohhot's few remaining Buddhist sites, located within the old part of the city. An active religious site, Mongol monks chant and pray while worshippers burn incense and pray. The best time to catch monks going through their rites is during morning prayer, around 9am. When orders were made by founder Altan Khan to build Hohhot, he..
The Zhaojun Tomb (Zhāojūn Mù, 昭君墓), dedicated to one of the "Four Beauties of Ancient China," is a symbol of the Han Chinese influence in what was once outside the borders of the Middle Kingdom. Like the Genghis Khan Mausoleum, which is closer to Baotou, the Zhaojun Tomb might be more accurately described as a memorial as the site of the actual tomb is unknown. Wang Qiang—later known by her courtesy name Wang Zhaojun—was a Han Dynasty minor courtier married off as a political gesture to a friendly chief of..
Located in the old part of Hohhot near Qingcheng Park, the Five Pagoda Temple (Wǔtǎ Sì, 五塔寺) is not actually a temple but the pagoda of the no-longer-standing Cideng Temple (Cídēng Sì, 慈灯寺). The remaining pagoda was first built in 1732 and has since been restored. Known as the "diamond throne" pagoda, after a design brought from India during the Ming Dynasty, the structure features four pagoda towers, one on each corner of a large, squat base, around a central pagoda. This design is also shared by the..
Located in central Hohhot, the Inner Mongolia Museum (Nèiměnggǔ Bówùguǎn, 内蒙古博物馆) is well worth an hour or so of your time, especially if you befriend the curator, who's known to give visitors impromptu tours. The downstairs exhibition holds a wealth of ethnic Mongolian items, with highlights including costumes, saddles, long leather coats and cummerbunds, as well as hunting and sporting implements, including some very European-looking hockey sticks and balls. Surprisingly, there's also a rather impressive..
The only historic building still standing in the newly developed area of the city, this former Qing Dynasty general's office has a certain allure. Resembling a temple, Jiangjun Yashu (Suíyuǎn Chéng Jiāngjūn Yáshǔ, 绥远城将军衙署) is something of a mixture of a religious site, featuring rather unusual Buddhist art done in a "modern" style, along with examples of stately Qing-era office furnishings and a scale model of the city that depicts Hohhot as it was before modernization took its toll, transforming the cityscape from one..
The holy seat and residence of the reincarnation of the Living Buddha, Xilitu Lamasery (Xílìtú Zhào, 席力图召) was constructed over the course of 50 years during the reign of Ming Emperor Wan Li for the 3rd Dalai Lama, Sonam Gyatso. Featuring one of the most well-preserved Lama pagodas in Inner Mongolia, Xilitu Lamasery, another temple restored after the tumult of the Cultural Revolution, is a structure built in the symmetrical Han style, and adorned with Tibetan-style murals and Sanskrit inscriptions. There’ll..
Wudang Lamasery (Wǔdāng Zhào, 五当召), the Mongolian name of which means "Willow Lamasery", is purported to be modeled after its distant Tibetan cousin, the Tashilhunpo Monastery in Shigatse. Though the legion of local and foreign tourists that flood its grounds have a way of dampening its charm, Wudang Lamasery's 1,500 Buddhist statues and abundant fine murals, which depict historical myths and beautiful landscapes, make it worth the visit. Besides, escaping the crowds can be as easy as taking a few steps into the surrounding..