Inner Mongolia, China

Position of Inner Mongolia in China
ProvinceNèi měng gǔ 'inner Mongol ancient'
Short name Měng
Population24.049 million (1.70%) [25th] comparison table
Area1,200,000 km2 [463,320 mile2] (12.50%) [3rd]
GDP72,185 (6.94%) [12th]
NeighborsRussia Mongolia Gansu Ningxia Shanxi Hebei Liaoning Jilin Heilongjiang Shaanxi
Others or just click on the map
Beijing Tianjin Shanghai Hong Kong Xinjiang Tibet Qinghai Gansu Inner Mongolia Heilongjiang Jilin Liaoning Yunnan Sichuan Guangxi Hainan Taiwan Guangdong Guizhou Chongqing Ningxia Shandong Fujian Zhejiang Shaanxi Shanxi Hebei Henan Hunan Hubei Jiangxi Anhui Jiangsu
Inner Mongolia, stupa, Buddhism
Buddhist stupas near Dazhao Monastery, Hohhot, Inner Mongolia

Inner Mongolia is China's third largest region by area. It forms an arid buffer zone between the rest of China and Mongolia and Russia to the north. The Gobi desert is at its heart; to the East it is bounded by the Heilongjiang (Amur) River and to the south by the Great Wall.

Population is concentrated near the loop of the Yellow River and along the border with the provinces to the south. It is one of China's Autonomous Regions (A.R.) rather than a province to reflect the large numbers of ethnic peoples. Inner Mongolia is also known as Nei Mongol or Nei Monggu (Nei meaning near or inner) to differentiate it from Outer Mongolia which is now the separate nation of Mongolia. Parts of the province, particularly the Ordos region contained in the bend of the Yellow River have been settled by Chinese people from earliest times. Mongol people form the dominant ethnic group and they follow the Lamaist Buddhist religion. The Mongolian language is widely spoken and it is frequently seen written on signage for roads and shops.

Inner Mongolia, landscape, view
View of Inner Mongolia near border with Russia


Hohhot or in Mandarin Chinese 浩特 Hūhéhàotè (also Huhehot) is the capital of Inner Mongolia; it is a city 400 years old with many Buddhist temples. Hohhot is the Mongolian name and means ‘blue city’. Sights to see include the Inner Mongolia museum ; Xilitu Zhao temple; Drum Tower;Wutasi (five pagodas); Dazhao Temple ; Wang Zhaojun tomb and the Emuqi Zhao Great Mosque (reflecting the large Hui/Muslim population).

Inner Mongolia, stupa, Buddhism
Black city on the ancient Silk Road, Xixia kingdom period, Inner Mongolia

Elsewhere in Inner Mongolia

Baotou the largest city, is close by the Yellow River and has industry based around coal and steel. Inner Mongolia has extensive coal deposits, second only to Shanxi province. Wudangzhao (Willow) Monastery near Baotou is a famous Tibetan Buddhist Monastery. Xanadu (Shandu) the palace of Kublai Khan made famous by Samuel Taylor Coleridge 's poem is located 199 miles [320 kms] north of Beijing and is just a pile of crumbled mud walls in the desert.

“In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round;
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery. ”

The Mausoleum of Genghis Khan can be seen at Dongsheng (although this is a shrine rather than his burial place which has never been discovered). Wulantuge and Gegentala grasslands are places where Mongolian nomadic people living in traditional yurts can still be seen. The yurt is a portable tent made of thick felt which can accommodate a family although larger ones can hold one hundred people.

Ulanhot in the northern part has the Moli Miao Buddhist Temple; Jialan Shan Monastery is split in two parts by mountains. Manzhouli is on a railway into Russia and has some Russian style buildings.

Hexigten Global Geopark near Chifeng has a granite landscape and hot springs. The Naadam Festival is a large Mongolian gathering with sports and other activities each year often on horseback. It is held in July or August at various locations and attracts large crowds. Xilinhot (Abagnar Qi) is a typical Mongolian town set in pasture land. As a sign of the times motorbikes rather than horses have become the preferred beasts of burden for young Mongolians

Great Wall, Inner Mongolia
The rebuilt Great Wall running over the grasslands of Inner Mongolia

History of Mongolia

Parts of the Great Wall were built about 1000BCE to keep the marauding people of the Mongolian plain out of settled Han Chinese settled country to the south. Emperor Qin Shihuangdi linked these parts together to form the Great Wall. The Xiongnu tribe were the main threat in these early days. After the fall of the Tang dynasty the Liao and Jin kingdoms/dynasties were centered in the north before the Mongol invasion.

Inner Mongolia, stupa, Buddhism
Buddhist stupas near Dazhao Monastery, Hohhot, Inner Mongolia

Mongolia was the base for Genghis Khan and his vast Mongol Empire. Activity was centered on the Onon River that flows east into the Heilongjiang in the northeast of Mongolia. His grandson Kublai Khan overran the whole of China to form the Mongol dynasty. After the dynasty and the empire fell, Mongolia came back under Chinese rule under the Qing dynasty when both Inner and Outer Mongolia were part of China. Towards the end the Qing dynasty, Russia expanded south and east creating friction over control of Mongolia. In 1924 the Russian Red Army established the Mongolian People's Republic in present day Outer Mongolia and it has remained under strong Russian influence ever since. Inner Mongolia was a battleground between Russian; Japanese; Chinese and Mongol forces from the decline of the Qing until the formation of the People's Republic. New railways linked it with northern China and many Han Chinese settled in the southern belt.

people, mongolia, cannon
Mongolian festival
mongolia, skins, bows
Bows and furs of Mongolia. Image by Rob Stallard


Inner Mongolia has long cold and dry winters with short, very hot summers. It is particularly arid in the western half. There is a good proportion of ethnic Mongolians and other nationalities (20%), in fact here there are more ethnic Mongols in the province than in the whole of the neighboring nation of Mongolia. Industry and agriculture are fairly limited, particularly in the harsher desert regions. Extensive efforts have been made to build a shelter belt of forests to protect the neighboring provinces from the influx of sand from the Gobi desert. The husbandry of grazing animals produces leather, lamb and cashmere. The forests in the far north east provide considerable softwood timber. It remains excellent pasture land and ancient herding traditions are still practiced.

Inner Mongolia, dinosaur
Er Lian city (Erenhot), Inner Mongolia has many dinosaur remains and a gateway with two kissing dinosaurs


Ordos Ejin Horo Airport 鄂尔多斯伊金霍洛机场 DSN IATA / ZBDS ICAO
The airport has 1 terminal and is located 9.3 miles (15.0 kms) from Ordos. Live Flight information , Airport information , rank in China 57
See map of location Ordos Ejin Horo Airport
Baotou Erliban Airport 包头机场 BAV IATA / ZBOW ICAO
The airport has 1 terminal and is located 13.7 miles (22.0 kms) from Baotou. Live Flight information , rank in China 54
See map of location Baotou Erliban Airport
Hohhot Baita International Airport 呼和浩特白塔国际机场 HET IATA / ZBHH ICAO
The airport has 2 terminals and is located 9.3 miles (15.0 kms) from Hohhot. Live Flight information , rank in China 33
See map of location Hohhot Baita International Airport
Hulunbuir Hailar Airport 呼伦贝尔海拉尔机场 HLD IATA / ZBLA ICAO
The airport has 1 terminal and is located 4.4 miles (7.1 kms) from Hulunbuir. Live Flight information , rank in China 53
See map of location Hulunbuir Hailar Airport
Chifeng Yulong Airport 赤峰玉龙机场 CIF IATA / ZBCF ICAO
The airport has 1 terminal and is located 8.7 miles (14.0 kms) from Chifeng. Live Flight information , rank in China 77
See map of location Chifeng Yulong Airport
Map of Inner Mongolia,Inner Mongolia province map Heilongjiang Jilin Liaoning Xinjiang Gansu Ningxia Qinghai Shandong Shanxi Hebei Russia Mongolia Show Key
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Inner Mongolia Climate

Climate Chart for Inner Mongolia
Climate Key
Major CitiesPopulation
Baotou 1,301,768
Chifeng 346,654
Hohhot浩特 774,477
Hulunbuir呼伦 2,549,278
Ordos 1,940,653
Tongliao 261,110
Wuhai 218,427
Yakeshi 116,284

City populations for 2012, Province statistics National Bureau of Statistics 2014

See also