Hohhot lies at the center of Inner Mongolia on the Tumochuan Plain, about 670km (415 miles) from Beijing. It has a population of 1.5 million and covers an area of about 6,200 km2. The city’s name comes from the Mongolian word for "green city", although the grasslands begin about 100km (about 70 miles) outside of town.
Hohhot is a pleasant old city with a mixture of modern and traditional architecture and a diverse population of up to 30 ethnic groups. While the majority of the residents are Han, there are sizeable Mongol minorities in parts of the city who have their own markets and restaurants. The Great Mosque and several Buddhist temples are also major attractions.
The city was founded by Mongol ruler Altan Khan in the late 16th century. It was chosen as the region's administrative centre in 1952, replacing Ulanhot. A city with a rich cultural background, Hohhot is known for its historical sites and temples and is one of the major tourist destinations of Inner Mongolia. It is also nationally known as the home of China's dairy giants Mengniu and Yili, and was declared "Dairy Capital of China" by the China Dairy Industry Association and the Dairy Association of China in 2005.
Hohhot is an important regional transport center and starting-off point for tours to the Daxilamuren and Gegentala prairies.