Ordos

Image: Genghis Khan's Mausoleum in Ordos city. by Daisy Lin

Ordos

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Ordos Tourist information

Ordos is a prefecture level city within Inner Mongolia province in China.

Intro to Ordos

Ordos (鄂尔多斯 È'ěrduōsī) is a prefecture level city in the west of Inner Mongolia, in northern China. The region is surrounded to the north, east and west by a large bend in the Yellow river. Mountain ranges along the banks of the Yellow river separate Ordos from the Gobi Desert in the north. Ordos it's self is for the most part a desert area with only Ordos City in Dongsheng District forming any substantial populated area.

A comparatively rich city, Ordos's income is amongst the highest in China with a nominal per-capita GDP of US$14,500 in 2008. Much of this wealth comes from the areas natural and mineral resources. The main industries of the area are wool textiles, coal mining, petrochemicals, electricity generation and the production of building materials. In recent years the city has undergone large scale redevelopment and expansion with new housing, museums and other public buildings being constructed. However this has attracted much criticism as most of the new houses lie empty and priced well above what local people can afford.

The population of Ordos was 1,369,766 people in the year 2000 census. If this, the largest ethnic group is Han, who account for 1,207,971 people (88.19% of total population.) The next largest group is Mongol with 155,845 (11.38%). Three other ethic groups show up in the statistics: Manchu, Hui and Tibetans. They account for just 0.21%, 0.14% and 0.07% of the population respectively.

Historically, Ordos has long been a backwater of China. It was mainly populated by various nomadic horse men. Legend has it that Ordos was the original home of the Turks. In early Chinese history, Ordos was under the control of the Xiongnu and later the Mongols. It, along with other lands on Chinas northern frontier, was often the source of raids on central China. After the Dungan revolt of 1869, the area was almost completely depopulated. During the later half of the 20th century, overgrazing and population pressures resulted in large scale decertification of Ordos. The fragile grasslands were destroyed leaving only a few oasis where small scale farming can take place.