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Hohhot, Inner Mongolia’s 'blue Sky City'

By Bruce Connolly | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-09-13 08:45
Traditional rooftops of older Hohhot 1997 [Photo by Bruce Connolly/chinadaily.com.cn]

Another vantage point to look across both the older and newer skylines of Hohhot was the unique Wutasi or "Five Pagoda Temple". Part of former Ci Deng Temple it dated from 1727. Five small pagodas stood on a rectangular block of glazed bricks. 1563 tiny but individual Buddha figurines were carved into niches along its walls. Again, the personal fascination was to gaze from Wutasi across southwestern Hohhot. Once more a similarity to Beijing’s hutongs, there was however a difference with distinctive brick chimneys rising from often flat roofs. In the distance I could pick out a large temple along with the minaret tower of a mosque. However, it was the scenes of constant movement of people, of everyday life in the alleys below that transfixed me, of a China I knew would change radically in the coming years. Looking back over the past 31 years I appreciate I have been fortunate to have experienced the country in various stages of its transition and be able to put much of what I saw into a contemporary perspective.

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