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Baotou and around


Just three hours to the west of Hohhot by train or bus lies Inner Mongolia’s biggest and bleakest city, BAOTOU (包头, bāotóu). Its primary significance is as the chief iron- and steel-producing centre in China: if you’re arriving at night from the direction of Yinchuan, your first glimpse of the city is likely to be of satanic fires burning in the great blast furnaces. The sky over the western half of Baotou glows a more or less permanent yellow, orange and purple. For visitors, there can be something magnificent about Soviet ugliness on such a scale, but otherwise, apart from a few minor sights, including Wudangzhao, an attractive Tibetan-style monastery nearby, the city does not have much to offer. One further site of interest, Genghis Khan’s Mausoleum – which is unlikely to be the real thing – lies well to the south of Baotou near the town of Dongsheng.

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