Around Datong, Datong, Shanxi
(August 23 & 24, 2012)

(1) Here's a chunk of Datong's old city wall. I've seen bunches of these; I stayed inside the area they define.

These photos were taken on an evening stroll on the 23rd and a walk around Datong on the 24th. It's a bit torn up for "improvements," but it still has some amazing historical features.

(2) As you can see by the watchtower in the background, there's also a new old city wall being built.

(3) Here's how they do it: They just sheath the old city wall in brick (I imagine with some added fill). There's a reflective article about all this here.

(4) I had purposely arranged for a 2:10pm bus to Wutaishan (one of the oldest and most important pilgrimage sites in China) on the 24th, so that--after checking out of my hotel--I could visit this "Nine Dragon Screen Wall" and a few other things in Datong. There's a long story behind the wall--it used to stand in front of a prince's palace, etc.--but let's just look at it for now.

(5) The Dragon Wall stands in its own courtyard, just a couple of blocks east of my hotel.

(6) This is the central dragon. Cool, huh?

(7) A block west and a block south of the wall is the sad little drum tower. Never open to the public, it's especially forlorn with all the construction going on around it.

(8) A few blocks south of the Drum Tower is the new South Gate. Doesn't look so bad, right?

(9) But a wider shot shows the chaos around it. Shanhua Temple is just west of the gate; when I finished at the temple, I continued my explorations.

(10) Turning north again after leaving Shanhua Temple, I reached this fountain, which stands in a huge plaza in front of Huayan Si (the first site I visited in Datong). Turning around...

(11) When viewed from the other side, my hotel can be seen over the building behind the fountain.

(12) One more place on my wander: On a stroll last night, I saw this unusual building. It's part of a mosque; when I went back today to shoot it, I was hearing (I think) a sermon through a loud speaker.

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Last Updated August 21, 2019

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