The Inner Mongolia autonomous region is also called Inner Mongolia for short, with Hohhot as its capital city. Its origin can be traced back to the Ordos people who lived here 2,000 years ago.
With agriculture and stockbreeding as its main livelihood, Inner Mongolia also engages in forestry, coal mining and steel industries. The region boasts abundant natural resources, particularly minerals, and its reserves of rare earth and natural alkali rank first in China.
Inner Mongolia is a special economic zone renowned as a "treasure basin", with a foremost attraction of natural beauty. Vast grasslands, mushroom-like yurts, bright sky, fresh air, rolling grass and flocks and herds moving like white clouds on the remote grassland, all contribute to relaxing and picturesque scenery.
The Greater Hinggan Mountain, renowned as the "green treasure", is the largest and most preserved primitive forest. As the Kingdom of Wildlife, it is home to over 300 species of birds and 100 species of animals, 40 of which are listed as national rarities.
Inner Mongolia is an area of multiple ethnic groups with 3.77 million Mongolians, 17.6 million Hans and over 900,000 people of other ethnic minority groups. In 1947, it became the first autonomous region of China to be established. People of various ethnic groups all have long histories and brilliant cultures linked to this region.
Places of interest include Zhaojun Tomb in Hohhot, the Five-towers Temple, the Wudangzhao Monastery, and the Genghis Khan Mausoleum in Ejin Horo Banner. Traditional special local products include pure wool coarse string, Alashan camel's hair, XilinGol mushroom and Hetao melon.
From April 23 to May 3, 1947, the Inner Mongolia People's Congress was held in Wangye Temple, Ulanhot city. It was decided that May 1 should be the Memorial Day for the establishment of Inner Mongolia autonomous region, where regional ethnic autonomy was realized for the first time in China.
Covering an area of 540,000 km sq, the region then had jurisdiction over Hulunbuir League, Naveen Muren, Hinggan League, XilinGol League, Qahar League, 32 banners, one county and three county-level cities. The autonomous government was located at Wangye Temple.
In November 1949, with the approval of former premier Zhou Enlai, the government relocated to Zhangjiakou.
On September 19, 1949, an uprising, led by Dong Qiwu, a senior general from Kuomintang and acting governor of Suiyuan province, and a further 18 people broke out, creating the Suiyuan Provincial People's Government.
On March 5, 1954, a conference was jointly held by the Inner Mongolia People's Government, Suiyuan Provincial People's Government Committee, Suiyuan Military Committee and Suiyuan People's Consultative Committee in Guisui city (today's Hohhot).
Following commands from the central government, Suiyuan province and Suiyuan Provincial People's Government were revoked, and the former Suiyuan provincial jurisdiction was returned to the Inner Mongolia autonomous region. The autonomous region's government was now located in Hohhot.
On July 30, 1955, Aohan Banner, Ongniud Banner, Harqin Banner, Chifeng county, Ningcheng county and Wudan county of Rehe province came under the jurisdiction of the Juu Uda League of the autonomous region.
On April 3, 1956, Bayanhot Mongolia autonomous prefecture and Ejin Mongolia autonomous banner in Gansu province came within the jurisdiction the of Inner Mongolia autonomous region, forming Bayannur League, keeping the arrangement of the former administrative regions.
On July 5, 1969, Hulunbuir League, Jirem League and Juu Uda League came under the jurisdiction of Heilongjiang province, Jilin province and Liaoning province respectively. Alxa Left Banner came to the jurisdiction of Ningxia Hui autonomous region, and Alxa Right Banner and Ejin Banner to the jurisdiction of Gansu province.
On May 30, 1979, the three banners came under the jurisdiction of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region once more.
The Inner Mongolia autonomous region is situated at the cross of 97"12"-126"04" east longitude and 37"24"-53"23" north latitude, with an area of 1.18 million square kilometers, spanning 1/8 the country and ranking 3rd in China’s square coverage. Inner Mongolia not only has a large area but also geographical advantages, bordering Heilongjiang, Liaoning, Jilin, Hebei, Shanxi, Shaanxi, and Gansu provinces as well as Ningxia Hui autonomous region to the east, south and west. It spans the north, northeast and northwest of China and borders Russia and Mongolia in the north with a boundary line as long as 4,221 km, thus becoming an important frontier in China's global "opening up" initiatives.
Inner Mongolia, with a temperate continental monsoon climate, has a cold, long winter with frequent blizzards and a warm, short summer. Except for the relatively humid Greater Hinggan Mountain Area, the greater part of Inner Mongolia is arid, semi-arid and semi-humid from west to east. Average winter temperature ranges between -3.5℃ and -15℃, with extreme minimum temperatures of -26℃ - -50℃. In most areas, winters last for more than five months, with Hulunbuir remaining cold for about seven months. The mean summer temperature ranges between 20.1℃ and 25.3℃, with an extreme maximum temperature of 35℃- 45℃.The difference in temperatures between day and night also varies greatly throughout the year.
The Inner Mongolia autonomous region has nine cities - Hohhot, Baotou, Wuhai, Chifeng, Tongliao, Ordos, Hulunbuir, Ulanqab and Banyannur; three leagues - Hinggan, Alxa and Xilin Gol; two municipalities with independent planning statues -Manzhouli and Erenhot; and 52 banners.
Roast lamb, instant-boiled mutton, finger mutton and milk tea are some of the staple foods.
Singing, dancing and recreational sport are an important part of Mongolian culture.