Located 4 kilometers west of
Jiayuguan city on the northwest part of
Gansu Province, Jiayuguan is the western
end of the Great Wall of the Ming Dynasty
as well as the most magnificent and best-preserved
pass among the over thousand passes along
the Ming Great Wall, known as "Impregnable
Pass Under Heaven" . It took 168 years
(1372 - 539) to build this strategic outpost.
Jiayuguan Pass, located at the
narrowest ravine of Hexi Corridor is made
up of an inner city, wengcheng (barbican
entrance to the city), luocheng (outer round
defensive wall), outer city and moat. It's
a multi-tier defensive works. Its western
outer wall extends southward to the bank
of Taolai River at the foot of Qilian Mountain,
and its northern end links with a hidden
wall going halfway up the Heishan Mountain.
Jiayuguan Pass is entrenched right in the
ravine sandwiched in between two high mountains.
So it's reputed as Impregnable Pass Under
Heaven where one defender can ward off the
attack by ten thousand foes.
The inner city, standing right at the center
of the Pass, is surrounded by 6 meter-high
hardened loess as the base plus 3 meter-high
brick wall on the top. 1.7 meter-high brick
buttress aligned with crenels and lookout
holes are built on top of the wall.
Between crenels of the western
wall there are notches for lamps. Beneath
the notches, are slanting openings for shooting.
The city has four corner towers, and a gate
tower in the middle of each of the two north
to south walls. The eastern and western
gates are protected by wengcheng (barbican
entrance), which connects with the inner
city in a zigzag way. Once the enemy enters
the wengcheng, he will find himself like
a turtle in a jar waiting to be caught.