Datong (大同 - Dàtóng), Shanxi provinceThe first city of my itinerary was Datong located farther to the north of Shanxi province. I spent there two and a half days, including two days wandering across the outskirts of the city within a radius of 75 km (46 miles). I visited the world-famous Yungang Grottoes, Mount Hengshan with its Hanging Monastery, and walked and traveled about 100 kilometers along the earthen part of the Great Wall.
On the first day I nicknamed Datong "a city of lost small dogs and elderly men in Ronaldiño and Marlboro straw cowboy hats". With this Datong summer scorching sun wearing hats with brims seems very reasonable.
Datong is also known for Geng Yanbo (耿彦波 - Gěng Yànbō), its former Mayor, who headed the city from 2008 to 2013. Mayor Geng decided to completely rebuild the «Old Town» city wall by knocking down almost everything around the walls and the adjacent outer territory, and then build a new «Old Town» in the traditional Chinese style. He wanted the city return its former greatness, give new impetus to its development, and make Datong more attractive to tourists and residents.