We had a lovely breakfast at our hotel and left the ancient city early in the morning and headed towards Datong.
We stopped at the worlds oldest and tallest (67m) wooden pagoda, the Muta Tower at Yingxian. Built in 1056, the whole construction is made out of wood and no metal piece has been used. The clay Buddhist carvings including an 11m high Sakyamuni (Buddha) are as old as the pagoda itself. The site was peaceful and quiet. And we enjoyed it a lot. We had a nice lunch in a nearby restaurant.
The next stop was at Xuankong Si, a hanging monastery from the 6th Century. It was built into the cliffs 75m above the ground in a hidden canyon. The little rooms stand on a wooden structure which is fixed in the rocks the rocks have been carved out to get more space. They are connected by vertiginous wooden catwalks , bridges and narrow corridors. In one of the rooms three religions are united by the presence of Buddha, Konfuzius and Laozi.
We arrived at Datong early in the evening and were amazed by the modernism of the city with a population of 3.3 Mio. Most of the city has been recreated from scratch by an over- (?) ambitious mayor. An estimated 50 billion yuan has been ploughed into a colossal renovation of the old quarter. What used to be an ugly dirty stinky little city has become an attractive modern metropolis and the constructions are still going on.