Datong is situated in northern Shanxi Province. It is bordered by Inner Mongolia to the North and Hebei Province to the east. Covering an area of 14,176 square kilometers (5473 square miles), it has four districts and seven counties under its prefecture. It is the second largest city in Shanxi Province with a population of 2.99 million.
Known as the 'City of the Coal', Datong has developed into the second largest industrial city in Shanxi due to its advantage in energy. Its large reserves of coal make it a very important energy base for China. Since it is a key resource city, transportation here are quite convenient, especially by road and by train. Series of railways and roads work as a huge net to connect the city with many others.
Datong is one of the 24 famous historical and cultural cities in China due to its ever prosperous history. With a history of over 2400 years, it was the capital of Northern Wei (386~534) for 96 years, and the 'support capital' of Liao (916~1125) and Jin (1115~1234). It was the political, economic and military center of ancient North China, which attracted many people from various nations for trade or business. These prosperous days left the city with a series of splendid historic and cultural relics like the Yungang Grottoes and Hanging Monastery. Most of them are the integration of minorities' cultural and Han culture.