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Inner  Mongolia

 

 

Inner Mongolia (Mongolian:  Öbür Monggol and c Өвөр Монгол, Övör Mongol; Chinese: 内蒙古; pinyin: Nèi Měnggǔ), officially Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region or Nei Mongol Autonomous Region, is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China, located in the northern region of the country. Inner Mongolia shares an international border with Mongolia and Russia. Its capital is Hohhot. Other major cities include Baotou, Chifeng, and Ordos.

 

The Autonomous Region was established in 1947 on the area of former Republic of China provinces of Suiyuan, Chahar, Rehe, Liaobei and Xing'an along with the northern parts of Gansu and Ningxia. It is the third-largest subdivision of China spanning about 1,200,000 km2 (463,000 sq mi) or 12% of China's total land area. It has a population of 24,706,321 as of 2010 census, sharing 1.84% of Mainland China's population, Inner Mongolia is the 23rd populous province-level division.[4] The majority of the population in the region are Han Chinese, with a substantial Mongol minority. The official languages are Chinese and Mongolian, the latter written in the Mongolian script, as opposed to the Mongolian Cyrillic alphabet used in the state of Mongolia.

 

 

Geography

 

Officially Inner Mongolia is classified as one of the provincial-level divisions of North China, but its great stretch means that parts of it belong to Northeast China and Northwest China as well. It borders eight provincial-level divisions in all three of the aforementioned regions (Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Hebei, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Ningxia, and Gansu), tying with Shaanxi for the greatest number of bordering provincial-level divisions. Most of its international border is with Mongolia, which, in Chinese, is sometimes called “Outer Mongolia” (外蒙古), while a small portion is with Russia.

 

Inner Mongolia largely consists of the northern side of the North China Craton, a tilted and sedimented Precambrian block. In the extreme southwest is the edge of the Tibetan Plateau where the autonomous region’s highest peak, Main Peak in the Helan Mountains reaches 3,556 metres (11,670 ft), and is still being pushed up today in short bursts.[14] Most of Inner Mongolia is a plateau averaging around 1,200 metres (3,940 ft) in altitude and covered by extensive loess and sand deposits. The northern part consists of the Mesozoic era Khingan Mountains, and is owing to the cooler climate more forested, chiefly with Manchurian elm, ash, birch, Mongolian oak and a number of pine and spruce species. Where discontinuous permafrost is present north of Hailar District, forests are almost exclusively coniferous. In the south the natural vegetation is grassland in the east and very sparse in the arid west, and grazing is the dominant economic activity.

 

Owing to the ancient, weathered rocks lying under its deep sedimentary cover, Inner Mongolia is a major mining district, possessing large reserves of coal, iron ore and rare earth minerals, which have made it a major industrial region today.

 

 

Climate

 

Due to its elongated shape, Inner Mongolia has a wide variety of regional climates. Throughout the province, the climate is based off a four-season, monsoon climate. The winters in Inner Mongolia are very long, cold, and dry with frequent blizzards, though snowfall is so light that Inner Mongolia has no modern glaciers even on the highest Helan peaks. The spring is short, mild and arid, with large, dangerous sandstorms, whilst the summer is very warm to hot and relatively humid except in the west where it remains dry. Autumn is brief and sees a steady cooling, with temperatures below 0 °C (32 °F) reached in October in the north and November in the south.

Officially, most of Inner Mongolia is classified as either a cold arid or steppe regime (Köppen BWk, BSk, respectively). The small portion besides these are classified as humid continental (Köppen Dwb) in the northeast, or subarctic (Köppen Dwc) in the far north near Hulunbuir.

 

 

Language and culture

 

The Han Chinese of Inner Mongolia speak a variety of dialects, depending on the region. The eastern parts tend to speak Northeastern Mandarin, which belongs to the Mandarin group of dialects; those in the central parts, such as the Huang He valley, speak varieties of Jin, another subdivision of Chinese, due to its proximity to other Jin-speaking areas in China such as the Shanxi province. Cities such as Hohhot and Baotou both have their unique brand of Jin Chinese such as the Zhangjiakou–Hohhot dialect which are sometimes incomprehensible with dialects spoken in northeastern regions such as Hailar.

 

Mongols in Inner Mongolia speak Mongolian dialects such as Chakhar, Xilingol, Baarin, Khorchin and Kharchin Mongolian and, depending on definition and analysis, further dialects or closely related independent Central Mongolic languages such as Ordos, Khamnigan, Barghu Buryat and the arguably Oirat dialect Alasha. The standard pronunciation of Mongolian in China is based on the Chakhar dialect of the Plain Blue Banner, located in central Inner Mongolia, while the grammar is based on all Southern Mongolian dialects. This is different from the Mongolian state, where the standard pronunciation is based on the closely related Khalkha dialect. There are a number of independent languages spoken in Hulunbuir such as the somewhat more distant Mongolic language Dagur and the Tungusic language Evenki. Officially, even the Evenki dialect Oroqin is considered a language.

 

By law, all street signs, commercial outlets, and government documents must be bilingual, written in Mongolian and Chinese. There are three Mongolian TV channels in the Inner Mongolia Satellite TV network. In public transportation, all announcements are to be bilingual. Many ethnic Mongols, especially the young, speak fluent Chinese. Mongolian is receding in urban areas. But rural ethnic Mongols have kept more of their traditions. In terms of written language, Inner Mongolia has retained the classic Mongol written script as opposed to Outer Mongolia's adoption of Cyrillic.

 

The vast grasslands have long symbolised Inner Mongolia. Mongolian art often depicts the grassland in an uplifting fashion and emphasizes Mongolian nomadic traditions. The Mongols of Inner Mongolia still practice their traditional arts. Inner Mongolian cuisine has Mongol roots and consists of dairy-related products and hand-held lamb (手扒肉). In recent years, franchises based on Hot pot have appeared Inner Mongolia, the most famous of which is Xiaofeiyang (小肥羊). Famous Inner Mongolian commercial brand names include Mengniu and Yili, both of which began as dairy product and ice cream producers.

 

Among the Han Chinese of Inner Mongolia, Jinju (晉劇) or Shanxi Opera is a popular traditional form of entertainment. See also: Shanxi.

 

The famous actress Siqin Gaowa is an ethnic Mongol from Inner Mongolia.

 

A popular career in Inner Mongolia is circus acrobatics. The famous Inner Mongolia Acrobatic Troupe travels and performs with the renowned Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus.

 

 

Tourism

 

In the capital city Hohhot:

 

Dazhao Temple is a Lamaist temple built in 1580. Dazhao Temple is known for three sites: a statue of Buddha made from silver, elaborate carvings of dragons, and murals.

 

Xiaozhao Temple, also known as Chongfu temple, is a Lamaist temple built in 1697 and favoured by the Kangxi Emperor of the Qing Dynasty.

 

Xilituzhao Temple is the largest Lamaist temple in the Höhhot area, and once the center of power of Lamaism in the region.

 

Zhaojun Tomb is the tomb of Wang Zhaojun, a Han Dynasty palace lady-in-waiting who became the consort of a Xiongnu ruler.

 

Five-pagoda Temple is located in the capital of Inner Mongolia Hohhot. It is also called Jingangzuo Dagoba, used to be one building of the Cideng Temple.

 

Elsewhere in Inner Mongolia:

 

The Mausoleum of Genghis Khan, the cenotaph of Genghis Khan, is located in Ordos City.

 

Bashang Grasslands, on the border close to Beijing, is a popular retreat for urban residents wanting to get a taste of grasslands life.

 

The Arshihaty Stone Forest in Hexigten Global Geopark has magnificent granite rock formations formed from natural erosion.

 

Xiangshawan, or "singing sands gorge," is located in the Gobi Desert and contains numerous tourist attractions including sand sledding and camel rides.