Zhangjiakou (/ˈdʒɑːŋˈdʒjɑːˈkoʊ/), also known by several other names, is a prefecture-level city in northwestern Hebei province in Northern China, bordering Beijing to the southeast, Inner Mongolia to the north and west and Shanxi to the southwest. At the 2010 census, its population was 4,345,485 inhabitants on 36,861.56 square kilometres (14,232.33 sq mi), divided into 17 Counties and Districts. The built-up (or metro) area made of Qiaoxi, Qiaodong Districts and Wanquan County largely being conurbated had 838,978 inhabitants in 2010 on 1412.7 km2. Due to its position on several important transport arteries, it is a critical transport node for travel between Hebei and Inner Mongolia and connecting northwest China, Mongolia, and Beijing.
Zhangjiakou will be one of the host cities at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
In August 1211, during the Battle of Yehuling, Genghis Khan's 90,000 strong force destroyed the 450,000 strong Jin dynasty army.
The water-scarce city was historically the chief northern gate in the Great Wall to China for Europeans travelling along the Northern Tea Road (such as Ivan Petlin (1619) or Nicolae Milescu), often through the Juyong Pass.
From at least 1571 it was an important horse market for Mongolian mounts imported into China. From 1727 it was an important station for the Kyakhta trade between Russia and China. In early autumn long lines of camels would come in from all quarters for the conveyance of the tea chests from "Kalgan" (Zhangjiakou) to Kyakhta across the Gobi Desert. Each caravan usually made three journeys in the winter. In the 19th century some Russian merchants had permanent residences and warehouses just outside the gate.
In October 1909, Kalgan was connected by railway with Peking. The 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica noted that, in Kalgan, "the ordinary houses have an unusual appearance, from the fact that they are mostly roofed with earth and become covered with green-sward" and that "on the way to Peking the road passes over a beautiful bridge of seven arches, ornamented with marble figures of animals".
In 1937 the Japanese occupied the region and made Kalgan the capital of the autonomous Cha-nan (South Chahar) Province. The Federated Mengjiang Commission was set up to supervise the economic affairs, banking, communications, and industry of Japanese-occupied Inner Mongolia (Mengjiang).
In the early 1960s at the height of Sino-Soviet tensions, Zhangjiakou was considered one of the most important cities in China for military strategy reasons. Zhangjiakou was aptly nicknamed, "Beijing's Northern Door", because whoever controlled Zhangjiakou was in a good position to either attack (in the case of the Soviets) or defend (in the case of the Chinese) Beijing.
Zhangjiakou will host some of the events in the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Zhangjiakou is located in the northwest part of Hebei province, and is defined by mostly rough terrain created by the Yin Mountains, with elevations increasing from southeast to northwest. The east of the prefecture marks the Yan Mountains The bordering prefectures in the province are Chengde to the northeast and Baoding to the south. It also borders Shanxi to the west and southwest and Inner Mongolia to the northwest. The prefecture's latitude ranges from 39° 30' to 42° 10' N, or 289.2 kilometres (179.7 mi), while its longitude spans 113° 50' to 116° 30' E, or 216.2 kilometres (134.3 mi).
Zhangjiakou City is divided into three topographical regions: plateau, mountains, and basin. The former has elevations generally above 1,400 metres (4,600 ft), and consists of all of Guyuan and Kangbao Counties as well as part of Shangyi and Zhangbei Counties. This area is part of the southern end of the Inner Mongolia Plateau (内蒙古高原) and accounts for one-third of the prefecture's area. The basin area has elevations of 500 to 1,000 metres (1,600 to 3,300 ft) and supports a few rivers.
Zhangjiakou has a monsoon-influenced, continental semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk), with long, cold, dry, and windy winters due to the Siberian anticyclone, and hot, humid summers driven by the East Asian monsoon; in between spring and autumn are dry and brief. Conditions are much cooler than in Beijing due in part to the elevation. The monthly 24-hour average temperature ranges from −8.3 °C (17.1 °F) in January to 23.7 °C (74.7 °F) in July, and the annual mean is 8.81 °C (47.9 °F).