Why Jiayuguan Pass So Important?

Jiayuguan Pass used to be the starting point of the ancient Great Wall built during Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644). It was the most important military defensive project guarding the far northwestern area of China because of its strategic location at the narrowest point of the western section of the Hexi Corridor which had been the vital defensive frontier since Han Dynasty (BC 202—220). After the Jiayuguan Pass was constructed, the army of Ming Dynasty used it to protect inner China from the invasion of nomadic groups. At the same time, the Jiayuguan Pass had also played as a key waypoint of the ancient Silk Road. Foreign travelers and traders came from Europe, Middle Asia, and entered the inner land of China. While commodities of China also were transported to Middle Asia and Europe from this pass. Along with the foreign trade, a cultural exchange of religion, art and custom also had been brought.

The History of Jiayuguan Pass

During the early period after the establishment of Ming Dynasty, the remnant armies of Yuan Empire and Turpan constantly invaded Hexi Corridor area. The general Feng Sheng was ordered to construct a defensive pass to protect from the invasion from Yuan and Turpan. He chose the Jiayu Mountain as the final siting where is easy to hold but hard to be defeated. The construction started in the year 1372, and completed quickly as the first first-stage project which consisted of several ramparts surrounded by some barracks. The subsequent construction costed 168 years to complete and finally became the western starting point of the Great Wall of Ming Dynasty.

Even though the walls and towers were partly damaged by natural infestation and wars, the Jiayuguan Pass is still the most intact surviving ancient military building. Several restorations had been conducted to protect the civil engineering structure of its fort, towers and walls. But travelers can still see many of its original face.

Jiayuguan Pass, Jiayuguan Great Wall Old Photo of Jiayuguan Pass(around 1920)

Layout of Jiayuguan Fort

Jiayuguan Pass is a firm and immense military pass which covers more than 33,529 square meters and consists of inner city, outer city and a moat.

Inner City

The inner city has a layout of trapezoid with a wall which is 11 meters high and 640 meters long. It was used as the third bulwark against enemies. Two meristic gates, Rou Yuan Men and Guang Hua Men, were built in the western and eastern side. Towers for guarding and command were built on the walls. The central area of the inner city locates the office of the commander and a Guanyu Memorial Temple. There are bridleways for carrying horses to the city wall.

Outer City

The outer city played as the second bulwark against enemies. Unlike the inner wall which was built by loess, the outer city has the strongest wall which was built by bricks and connected to Great Wall. A striking plaque was inserted on the wall above the gate.

Moat and Battlefield

A deep moat encircles the Jiayuguan Fort outside the outer city. In front of the fort, only 50 meters away from the gate is the ancient battlefield which have witnessed hundreds of heart-stopping combats.

Jiayuguan Pass, Jiayuguan Great Wall Layout of Jiayuguan Pass
Jiayuguan Pass, Jiayuguan Great Wall Outer City

Things to do

Learn about the glorious history in the Great Wall Museum

Before entering the fortress, take a short visit to the Great Wall Mesum to learn some interesting facts about both the Jiayuguan Fort and Great Wall, including history, old photos, relics, etc.

Riding a camel like ancient traveler did

Just in front of the back gate, you can find many locals offering chances to ride a camel or just take photos with the camels. Don’t be afraid of the camels, they are very meek. A local will lead your way.

Exciting Four-wheel Motor Riding

If you want to take looks at the Jiayuguan Pass from Gobi desert, or go to experience the vast and desolate landscape of Gobi, you can try the exciting four-wheel motor riding.

Similar exciting outdoor activity is to glide and enjoy the views of Jiayuguan Pass in the air.

Jiayuguan Pass, Jiayuguan Great Wall Great Wall Museum
Jiayuguan Pass, Jiayuguan Great Wall Camel Riding

Nearby Places to Visit

The Ticket of Jiayuguan Pass costs 120 RMB, which also includes the admission fees for visiting the Overhanging Great Wall and the First Mound of Great Wall. But unluckily, there are not close to each other. It depends on you to extend your visit to other two sites or not.

Overhanging Great Wall (Xuanbi Great Wall)

The Overhanging Great Wall, also known as the Xuanbi Great Wall. It is 8 kilometers away from the Jiayuguan Pass Fort and 14 kilometers from the city. In the ancient time, it was a part of the Jiayuguan Pass, and was connected with the fort. More than 460 years later, most sections of the walls have disappeared. The remaining section is 750 meters long, rising up 150 meters and hanging on a cliffy mountain. Unlike the walls in Beijing, it was constructed by loess because this area is lack of water. Hiking up the Great Wall takes only about a half hour.

The First Mound of Great Wall

The First Mound of Great Wall, also known as The First Strategic Post of the Great Wall on Tripadvisor.com. Jiayuguan Pass is the western starting point of the Great Wall, while this site is the westernmost starting point of the Great Wall as a part of the Jiayuguan Pass. It is a mound of yellow loess which is believed to the remaining ruin of a watching tower of ancient Great Wall. While the walls connected to the tower had been disappeared currently. To visit the First Mound of Great Wall, you have to transfer 7.5 kilometers from the Jiayuguan Pass Fort.

Recommended tour packages including Danxia Park

>> 6 Days Hexi Corridor Discovery Tour
(Lanzhou - Zhangye - Jiayuguan - Dunhuang)

>> 9 Days Ancient Silk Road Treasure Tour
(Tianshui - Lanzhou - Zhangye - Jiayuguan - Dunhuang)

>> 10 Days Gansu Highlights Tour from Xining
(Xining - Tongren - Xiahe - Lanzhou - Zhangye - Jiayuguan - Dunhuang)

Jiayuguan Pass, Jiayuguan Great Wall Overhanging Great Wall
Jiayuguan Pass, Jiayuguan Great Wall The First Mound of Great Wall

Location & How to Get to Jiayuguan Pass

The Jiayuguan Pass is about 6 kilometers away from the Jiayuguan City. It takes only about 15 minutes to drive to the attraction.

For Independent Travelers

The most recommended way is to take a taxi to the Pass, which costs about 15~30 RMB. Recently, rent a car is also very popular. It costs about 150~200 RMB, covering all the transfer from your hotel to the Fort, Overhanging Great Wall and the First Mound of Great Wall. Public bus No. 4 and No.6 also can take you to the Fort.

Travel with China Discovery

If you want to get rid of hustle of public transportation and troublesome navigation, you can book a private tour package with us which covers sightseeing, dining and transfer. Our local tour guide and driver will take care of all the details. You just need to focus on sightseeing.

Jiayuguan Pass Map Jiayuguan Pass Location

Useful Tips

Best time to visit - from May to October is the best time to visit the Jiayuguan Pass. Spring time is dry and windy. While winter is very chilly. Avoid visit the site in the noon when the sunlight is very strong and temperature is high.

Photography idea - When taking photos of Jiayuguan Fort, you can set the surroundings as the backgrounds or setoffs. The pleasant views, with the permanently snowcapped Qilian Mountains to the north and the black Mazong Mountains to the south, couldn’t be better scene to shoot. To take the full view of the fortress is very necessary, and you can find the best place for framing from the place 500 meters to the southeast of fort. The best hours are around the sunrise and sunset.

Wearing - you’d better wear Long-sleeved clothes to prevent sunburn, and a hat is recommended. Also smear the sun cream.

Recommended Jiayuguan Tours

Top 3 Jiayuguan tours chosen by most customers to explore Jiayuguan in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.

Echoing Sand Mountains
4 Days Classic Dunhuang Tour

Dunhuang

Jiayuguan Fort
4 Days Jiayuguan and Dunhuang Tour(Silk Road Short Break)

Jiayuguan / Dunhuang

Bingling Temple
8 Days Gansu Highlights Tour

Lanzhou / Xiahe / Jiayuguan / Dunhuang

Start planning your tailor-made holiday to China by contacting one of our specialists. Once enquired, you’ll get a response within 0.5~23.5 hours.

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