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26 Aug 2014

Yanmenguan the Great Wall, China

Yanmenguan [雁門關] • 26 AUGUST 2014
IntroductionYanmenguan, also know as Yanmensai or Xixingguan, is an important pass on the Great Wall. Together with Ningwuguan and Pianguan, it is regarded as one of the 'Three Outer Passes along the Great Wall'.

It was also regarded as the leading one of all the nine passes in ancient China. In 2001, Yanmenguan was declared a national priority cultural relic protection site by the State Council.


History: Occupying a place of strategic importance, it was initially built at the site by the King Wuling of Zhao during the Warring States Period (476BC - 221BC). At the beginning of the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907), it was reconstructed and got its name 'Yanmenguan Pass'. 


At the time, it served as a key military stronghold for defense against the Inner Asian nomads.Later in the Yuan Dynasty (1271 - 1368), it fell into ruins because of the lack of repair over a long period of time.  In the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644), it was re-built 10 kilometers (6 miles) northeast of the old site. 


Attractions: The existing Yanmenguan consists of three towers -the small north gate, the west gate and the east gate. The small north gate is built from brick and stone, and above its lintel in the front is inscribed the three Chinese characters of Yan Men Guan. An antithetical couplet is hanging beside the door. Also, there is a temple on the west gate commemorating General Yang Liulang of the Northern Song (960-1127). 


A plaque inscribed with Chinese Characters on it indicates the favorable geographical location, while the characters on the east gate means 'the unbreakable stronghold'. 


A temple, named 'Jingbianci', was built outside of the east gate as a sacrifice to Li Mu-a famous army general during the Period of Warring States (475 - 221 BC). Only a stone mast, a pair of stone lions, and a number of steles remain.


Transportation
1. Take a bus from Daixian County to Datong, getting off at Yanmenguan. It takes about 2 hours by foot from there to the pass. 
2. Rent a car at Daixian County. The cost is about CNY 150 for a round trip.
3. Rent a car at the new Guangwu Town (also called Xinguangwu Town, the cost for the round trip is about CNY 50. Travelers can also visit the ancient Guangwu Town on the way.


Travel Tips 
1. Travelers are not recommended to visit the pass individually or visit with a group less than 4 persons, because of the distance from the county seat.  
2. For dinning and accommodation, travelers can return to Daixian County, Xinzhou City, or Datong City where the quality of restaurants and hotels is better.


Yanmenguan, located in Dai County, Xinzhou City, Shanxi Province, China, is an important part of the Great Wall which is the cultural heritage in the world. It is also known as the key historical sites under state protection, national AAAA level scenic spot, one of the top ten tourism brands in Shanxi, shooting base of screen culture and national hiking trails. It is the oldest, the most frequent attacked, and the most famous ancient pass. 


From the 4th century BC to the 20th century, according to an incomplete statistics, there were more than 140 times of war happened here. Rich military historical relics make it become a tourist attraction for visitors to appreciate the military facilities in ancient China.
Admission Fee: CNY 90
Opening Hours: 08:00 - 18:00
Location: Yanmenguan Pass is located on the Yanmen Mountain, 20 kilometers (12 miles) to the north of the Daixian County seat of Xinzhou City in Shanxi province.

Articles Credited to Yanmenguan and Chinatour360
Photos credited to Kit

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