Datong is located at Northern Shanxi Province, 380 km west of
Beijing and 352km north of Taiyuan (the capital of Shanxi Province).
As the second largest city of Shanxi Province, Datong is known as
the coal capital of northern China.
Datong's Weather: Datong's
annual average temperature is 5.5°C (41.9°F), average annual rainfall is
400mm, and annual frost-free day is between 100 and 156 days.
Datong is famous for its
history and culture. Among the unsung
wonders of China's history-soaked heritage are the 1,500-year-old
Buddhist grottoes of Datong ---an eight-hour train journey from
Beijing---in Shanxi Province.
In a valley at Yungang,
some 10 miles west of Datong and easily reached by taxi or public bus,
more than 50 recesses have been dug into the hills and filled with
Buddhist statues of various sizes and shapes, 51,000 altogether.
From the 56-foot Seated Buddha to tiny figures just a few centimeters
tall, every wall and archway is crammed with carvings, including
serial-type representations of scenes from Buddhist mythology and the
lives of famous monks.
Datong has several other
tourist attractions – such as the 600-year-old Nine-Dragon Screen made
of glazed tiles, the Huayan Monastery with the largest wooden shrine
hall in China, and the Shanhua Monastery, intact since 713.