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Jiayuguan Pass

Jiayuguan Pass is situated at the narrowest point of the western section of the Hexi Corridor, 6 kilometers southwest of the Jiayuguan city in Gansu. Jiayuguan or Jiayu Pass is the first pass atJiayuguan Pass the west end of the Great Wall. It has also been called "Jiayuguan Pass". Along with Juyongguan and Shanhaiguan, it is one of the main passes of the Great Wall.

Jiayuguan Pass lies between two hills; one of which is called Jiayuguan Hill. It was built near an oasis that was then on the extreme western edge of China. The pass is trapezoid-shaped with a perimeter of 733 meters and an area of more than 33,500 square meters. The city wall is 733 meters long and 11 meters high.

Jiayuguan Pass

Jiayuguan Pass has two gates with one on the east side of the pass and the other on the west side. On each gate stands a building. At the building of the west gate is a tablet on which written an inscription of "Jiayuguan" in Chinese. The south and north sides of the pass are connected to the Great Wall. There is a turret on each corner of the pass. On the north side, inside the two gates, there are wide roads leading to the top of the pass.

A fabulous legend shows the meticulous planning when constructing Jiayuguan Pass. According to the legend, when Jiayuguan was being planned, the official in charge asked the designer to estimate the exact number of bricks required and the designer gave him a number. The official questioned the number, so he asked the designer if that would be enough, then the designer added one brick. When Jiayuguan was finished, there was one brick left over, which was placed loose on one of the gates where it remains today.

The Jiayuguan Pass was built during the early Ming dynasty, sometime around the year 1372. The fortress there was greatly strengthened due to fear of an invasion by Timur, but Timur died of old age while leading an army toward China.

Among the passes on the Great Wall, Jiayuguan Pass is the most intact surviving ancient military building. The pass is also known by the name the "First and Greatest Pass Under Heaven", which is not to be confused with the "First Pass under Heaven", a name for Shanhaiguan at the east end of the Great Wall near Qinhuangdao, Hebei.


Jiayuguan Pass Tour

Jiayuguan Pass was a key waypoint of the ancient Silk Road.  Around Jiayuguan there are few historic sites such as elsewhere in Gansu province and on the Silk Road. Many frescos were found in the areas around Jiayuguan.

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