Hohhot (Chinese: 呼和浩特; pinyin: Hūhéhàotè; Kökeqota.svg Kökeqota; Khalkha: Хөх хот Höh hot, /xɵxˈxɔtʰ/), abbreviated Hushi (Chinese: 呼市; pinyin: Hūshì), formerly known as Kweisui (simplified Chinese: 归绥; traditional Chinese: 歸綏; pinyin: Guīsuí), is the capital of Inner Mongolia in North China, serving as the region's administrative, economic and cultural centre. Its population was 2,866,615 inhabitants at the 2010 census, of whom 1,980,774 lived in the built-up (or metro) area made up of 4 urban districts.
The name of the city in Mongolian means "Blue City"—Kuku-Khoto in Mongolian—although it is also wrongly referred to as the "Green City." The color blue in Mongol culture is associated with the sky, eternity and purity; in Chinese, the name can be translated as Qīng Chéng (Chinese: 青城), literally, "Blue/Green City." The name has also been variously romanized as Kokotan, Kokutan, Kuku-hoton, Huhohaot'e, Huhehot, Huhhot, or Köke qota.
Marco Polo reports traveling to the Province of Tenduc, which has been identified as the region around the modern-day Hohhot. His itinerary took him from Tangut nation he called the "Kingdom of Egrigaia" (in modern-day Ningxia), and he took a route eastward into Tenduc.
In 1557, the Tümed Mongol leader Altan Khan began building the Da Zhao Temple in the Tümed plain in order to convince the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) government of his leadership of the southern Mongol tribes. The town that grew up around this temple was called the "Blue Town" (Kokegota in Mongolian). The Ming had been blockading the Mongols' access to Chinese iron, cotton, and crop seeds, in order to dissuade them from attacking the northern China plain. But in 1570, Altan Khan successfully negotiated the end of the blockade by the establishment of a vassal-tributary relationship with the Ming, for which the Ming renamed Kokegota to Guihua (Chinese: 歸化; pinyin: Guīhuà; Wade–Giles: Kweihua; literally: "Return to Civilization") in 1575. The population of Guihua grew to over 150,000 in the early 1630s as local Mongol princes encouraged the settlement of Han Chinese merchants. Sometimes Mongol armies attacked Guihua, such as the total razing of the city by Ligdan Khan in 1631. Altan Khan and his successors constructed temples and fortress in 1579, 1602 and 1727. The Tümed Mongols had long been semiagricultural there. Hui merchants gathered north of the gate of the city's fortress, building a mosque in 1693. Their descendants forms the nucleus of the modern Huimin district.
Located in the south central part of Inner Mongolia, Hohhot is encircled by the Daqing Shan (大青山, lit. Great blue Mountains) to the north and the Hetao Plateau to the south.
Hohhot features a cold semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk), marked by long, cold and very dry winters, hot, somewhat humid summers, strong winds (especially in spring) and monsoonal influence. The coldest month is January, with a daily mean of −11.6 °C (11.1 °F), while the July, the hottest month, averages 22.6 °C (72.7 °F). The annual mean temperature is 6.73 °C (44.1 °F), and the annual precipitation is 398 millimetres (15.7 in), with more than half of it falling in July and August alone. Variability can be very high, however: in 1965 Hohhot recorded as little as 155.1 mm (6.11 in) but six years before than, as much as 929.2 mm (36.58 in), including 338.6 mm (13.33 in) in July of that year. Hohhot is a popular destination for tourists during the summer months because of the nearby Zhaohe grasslands. More recently, due to desertification, the city sees sandstorms on almost an annual basis. With monthly percent possible sunshine ranging from 58 percent in July to 71 percent in October, sunshine is abundant year-round, the city receives 2,862 hours of bright sunshine annually. Extreme temperatures have ranged from −32.8 °C (−27 °F) to 38.9 °C (102 °F).