Established as a garrison town along the Great Wall during the Ming Dynasty, Yulin (Yúlín, 榆林) saw a bump in development in modern times after the discovery of the massive Shenmu-Fugu coalfield. The town revolves mostly around the extraction of its resources—in addition to coal, natural gas and salt are extracted.
Its relatively late development and remoteness have helped Yulin maintain many of its historic areas. Old city walls still surround parts of the city, and the old town area—centered on the main pedestrian street, Bei Dajie/Nan Dajie (北大街/南大街)—still offers a number of old buildings including the Xiangyun Temple (Xiāngyún Sì, 香云寺) and Daixing Temple (Dàixīng Sì, 戴兴寺) in addition to restaurants and shopping.
Outside of town, a decayed, but under renovation portion of the Ming Dynasty Great Wall joins sections of older walls winding through the desert landscape. The Zhenbei Tower, the largest such tower on the great wall, was built here to oversee trading between Han Chinese and Mongolians. Not far away, grottoes and ancient carvings line the wall of the Red Stone Gorge.