The town was founded as Píngchéng (平城) in 200 BC during the Han Dynasty, after the Battle of Baideng between the Han and the Xiongnu. Located near the Great Wall Pass to Inner Mongolia. It blossomed during the following period and became a stop-off point for Camel Caravans moving from China into Mongolia and beyond. It was sacked at the end of the Eastern Han Dynasty. Pingcheng became the capital of Northern Wei from 398 AD until 494 AD. The famous Yungang Grottoes (云冈石窟 Yúngāng Shíkū) were constructed during the later part of this period (460 – 494 AD).
The city was renamed Datong in 1048 AD and sacked again at the end of the Ming Dynasty (1649 AD), but promptly rebuilt in 1652 AD.
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