While Inner Mongolia's environment is being devastated, the Mongolian culture has suffered systemic disruption, and the process is unintentionally, but vividly, exhibited in the Museum of Xilinhot. The museum is a pyramid-style building that dwarfs every other museum of the autonomous region in terms of size, cost and height. For some reason, to reach the entrance visitors must scale a flight of slippery granite steps, steeper than most at the Great Wall, and then work their way to the bottom as they view the exhibits. The five floors are filled with surprisingly resourceful and informative items that, except for a few replicas, seamlessly recount a history of Inner Mongolia from the dark, dinosaur-abundant Jurassic Period to the rise and fall of the Huns, from the golden yurt of Genghis Khan to a peaceful camp of an ordinary nomadic community. The museum's curators must have spent a great deal of time collecting, arranging and studying these items, or the explanation tags and audioguide would not have been so lengthy and detailed. There is just one major problem; all explanations are in Chinese. A Mongolian translation is not available. Mongolians take great pride in their vertically written alphabetic language, with the belief that it was created under the instruction of Genghis Khan to mimic a man's erect spine. So it is not surprising to see confusion, disappointment and anger written on the face of many Mongolian visitors when they walk past the items belonging to their ancestors and find everything about them is written in horizontal and simplified Chinese. Everything in the museum is written in Chinese. Only the sign plate of the souvenir shop shows Mongolian over Chinese - and that's for decoration, according to the shop's attendants. 'I can't find a toilet here if I don't read Chinese,' said a Mongolian visitor, who did not give his name. 'I still bring my kids here, nevertheless. It's wonderful. But I will tell them it's a museum built by the Chinese. You can't trust everything in it.' The museum has a large collection of utensils and jewellery owned by the Mongolian elite without mentioning the fact that the Communist Party killed most Mongolian nobles, executed every one of the living Saman priests, who for thousands of years had been the most influential medical and spiritual source for the local people, and forced all lamas to marry women, a tactical move that almost uprooted Buddhism from the entire region. Nowadays, young Mongolians no longer wear traditional outfits during holidays. They have given up their yurts for brick houses, where they browse the internet and chat with their friends online almost exclusively in Chinese. Indeed, some have even lost their mother tongue after spending years in Chinese-speaking schools, which promise better chances for university education and jobs.