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Baotou is a prefecture-level city and the largest city in Inner Mongolia, People's Republic of China. The city's Mongolian name means "place with deer", and an alternate name in Chinese is "Deer City". Baotou is located at the foot of the Yinshan Mountains, and on the bank of the Yellow River.

The area now known as Baotou was inhabited since ancient times by nomads, most notably the Mongols. Near the end of the Han Dynasty, Lü Bu, who would grow up to become China's mightest and least trustworthy warrior, was born here. Compared to the capital, Hohhot, Baotou's construction as a city came relatively late, being incorporated as a town in 1809. The city's site was chosen because it was in an arable region of the Yellow River's Great Bend. In the contemporary age, Baotou became a port and a town of great commercial importance for the fur trade, which relied on the waterways of the Yellow River. The railway construction from Beijing expanded to Baotou.

If the ancient Great Wall, grassland, desert and the Mongolians created the unique culture of the city, rich mineral resources allowed it to develop as a modern industrial city, reputed now as the 'steel capital on grassland' and the 'capital of rare earth'.