Yanmenguan Great Wall

Brief  introduction of Yanmenguan Great Wall

In the depths of Yanmen Mountain in Shanxi, there stands a lonely frontier outpost, Yanmenguan, some 2,000 years old. This once invincible patron saint along the boundary has cast off his armor and turns into an experienced old man waiting to tell you about his story.

Basic facts of Yanmenguan Great Wall

  • Yanmenguan Pass of Great Wall is 12 miles (19 kilometers) to the north of Daixian County, in Shanxi Province. It is one of the three passes of the Inner Great Wall. The Ningwuguan pass and the Pianguan Pass are the others.
  • In the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC – 476 BC), King Wuling of Zhao State first established Yanmen County in this region. When Emperor Qin Shi Huang(259 – 210 BC) reigned over the country, he gave orders for the construction of Yanmen Pass to guard against the northern tribes. Since then, it has been bitterly contested.
  • In Northern Song Dynasty (960 – 1127), the renowned warriors of the Yang family garrisoned it against invading Qidan troops from the northern prairie. These legendary warriors included female family members. You can find the statues of some of them lining along the entrance path of the scenic area.
  • he pass consists of a pass city, a barbican, and an enclosing wall. The pass city is located between two rolling hills, with a height of 30 feet (nine meters) and a perimeter of 1,100 miles (1,006 meters). The enclosing wall stretches outwards from the east and west wings of the pass city, measuring more than three miles (five kilometers) long, and it is dotted with beacon towers. The barbican was built outside the north gate of the pass city.

Highlinghts of Yanmenguan Great Wall

  • The northern gate is called Di Li Gate, with a barbican outside forming a double defense line. Unlike other barbicans, the entrance door was built on the east wall instead of the front to expose potential invaders on two sides.
  • Different from other passes, Tian Xi’an Gate, opening to the central plain, was not designed to face Di Li Gate directly. It was actually built at the northeast corner of the pass. The one right opposite the Di Li Gate was a false lead to the secluded area of the mountain. There was no walkable path behind, only thick trees, knee-height grass, and wild beasts waited ahead.
  • There is a large reservoir behind the Di Li Gate. It has military potentials. If Di Li Gate was broken through, defenders would wreck the dam to inundate enemies.

Located in the deep Yanmen Mountain, there won’t be too many visitors whenever you come and the old fortress would entice you back into its time and place.

The best time to visit the pass is May to June and September to October, when it is temperate weather. In May and June, the greenery energizes you. The scenes of September and October reflect different charm with fallen leaves coating the ground in yellow. Although winter (November to February) is cold, it does not matter much when the snow covers everything in white and you feel the solitude of this thousands-year-old fortress.

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