Juyong Pass is the most famous pass of Great Wall in China. Compared with other passes of Great Wall, Juyong pass has the longest history, the largest construction scale and the richest cultural connotation. That’s why people call it ‘the first great pass of the world’.The Juyongguan Great Wall is the closest section of the Great Wall to Beijing – a little closer than Badaling which it connects to; both of these sections of the Great Wall protect the same natural pass through the mountains through which now passes the Badaling Expressway and a railway line.
JuYongGuan rises steeply on each side of a fortrified gate. There is a temple and other attractions close by. Juyongguan Great Wall also features some life-size Terracotta Warriors. Juyongguan Great Wall is a pass (‘guan’ means ‘mountain pass’) through the mountains located in an 18 km long valley named Guan Gou which is in Changping County, more than 50 km from Beijing City. Ju Yong Guan is one of the three greatest passes of the Great Wall of China. The other two are Jia Yu Guan Pass and Shan Hai Guan Pass. Ju Yong Guan had many different names in the past; however, the name Ju Yong Guan Pass was used by more than 3 dynasties. It was first used in the Qin Dynasty when Emperor Qin Shi Huang gave the orders to build the Great Wall of China. Actually, Ju Yong Guan Great Wall actually has 2 passes, one at the south and one at the north end. The south one is called “Nan Pass” (what we now call Ju Yong Guan) and the north one is called Badaling.
In the middle of Juyongguan Pass, there is a cross-street pagoda base foundation called Yuntai, which means “it looks like staying in the clouds when you seeing from afar”. It was built from 1342 to 1345, of white marble stones, 9.5 meters height and 25 meters wide and in the classical architectural style of the Yuan Dynasty. At the center of the base foundation, there is an arch doorway for pedestrians, horses and carriages to pass through. It is carved with images of animals, plants and Buddha.
Three Lama Pagodas and a Buddhist Temple had been built in late Yuan Dynasty and early Ming Dynasty respectively, but they were all destroyed by serious damage and great fire. Now just the base foundation is left. The South Pass’ Earthen Castle is shaped like a horse’s hoof. During battles, the enemies were caught inside the Earthen Castle when they ran through a hidden battlement and they couldn’t escape. Emplacements are set up at the North Castle.
There is a War Temple built, with the solemn images of the Twelve Chinese Horoscopes, God of Water and Fire, General God of Eight Skies and True War King. The five ancient cannons are being displayed near the walls of South and North Passes. They were from the Ming Dynasty. This period was the best era for making ancient cannons in China.
The stone carvings at Yuntai are a great sight to recommend. They are seen on the sides and the top in the archway. The Buddha images are lifelike, which are of excellent craftsmanship, with Buddhist sutras and conjurations in six different languages (such as Sanskrit, Tibetan, Chinese and Basiba which is a language derived from Tibetan made under the order of the Yuan Emperor Kublai Khan as Mongolian new letters, but it had been used only for a brief period). They are invaluable resources to Buddhist historical researchers and archeological enthusiasts. Also, the stone sculptures have been listed as China’s key protection culture heritage in 1961.
The Water Gate is designed in the astonishing mountain landscape which there are two mountains with a narrow waterway in between. Water flows through Juyongguan Pass, and the Water Gate is built at the junction area. This is used for controlling the amount of water, which varies drastically by seasonal changes. In the flood season, it will drain the water and in draught time it can store the water for Juyongguan Pass soldiers’ daily use.
The existing pass town was built originally in 1368 (Ming Dynasty, 1st year of Hongwu). After the first emperor of Ming dynasty, Zhu Yuanzhang, destroyed Yuan dynasty and established Ming dynasty, he feared the coming back of Yuan dynasty, and appropriated huge money to repair it, in order to enforce military defense function. It was laid out by general Xu Dda and co-general Chang Yuchun. Two gates had been built to guard the waterway and landway, and there were “urn cities” in the north and south gateway.
There had been built defense systems such as city-protection frusta and beacon tower at the strategic spot of north-mountain and south-mountain outside the pass.
Since the buildup of Juyong pass, it had been repaired during each period of dynasty,
The major restoration happened between 1450 and 1454 (early year of Jingtai). Since then it had been repaired for many times.
The stoned stele of gate title “Juyong pass” which hang on top of southern gate remained, with inscription of “fifth year of Jingtai, August, fine date established”.
This is the earliest reparation record of pass of Great Wall in Ming dynasty.
Juyong pass is also famous for beautiful scenery. At the year of 1190-1195 (year of Jin ming chang), “Juyong Diecui ” or “Diecui Juyong Embracing Cloud Desk” had been nominated one of the scenery of “Eight Best Scenic Spots in Beijing” by the emperor of Jin Dynasty.
During the late Qing dynasty, Juyog Pass was gradually abandoned, but grand pass town and other massive historic sites have remained and provide an open window to help visitors understand China’s ancient military culture
JuYong Guan Great Wall Tour
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