Jiayuguan City is located in the northwest of the Gansu province, 776 km from the city of Lanzhou, and 253 km from Zhangye. Jiayuguan’s name comes from the section of the Great Wall that ends here. The altitude of the region oscillates between 1412 m to 2722 m.

The climate of Jiayuguan is temperate and continental, the annual rainfall amount is only 80mm with an average annual temperature of about 6℃. In winter, the temperature drops below 0℃ and the cold continues in early spring. The best time to visit is from late spring to fall (from May to early October).

In Jiayuguan city, the 3 essential places to visit are:

Jiayuguan Fortress

It was built to defend the borders of the Chinese Empire during the Ming Dynasty. Jiayuguan Fortress had a strategic place because it locked the corridor of Gansu. It also protected the route of the Silk Road on the pass that separates the Qilianshan Mountains from Heishan Mountain. The fortress is made up of several buildings including a temple and a theater where soldiers could entertain themselves. After the Jiayuguan Pass was constructed, the army of the 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, and 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 foreign trade, a cultural exchange of religion, art, and custom also had been brought.

There is an interesting legend about Jiayuguan Fortress: local officials prepared 100,000 bricks for the construction of Jiayuguan Fortress. When the Fortress was built finished, 99,999 bricks were used, and there was one brick left over. The officers say the last brick is the “Bricks to stabilize the fortress,” which protects the fortress from its collapse as long as it doesn’t move. So today you can still see this brick on the Fortress, where it was when Fortress was built, it hasn’t been moved for more than 600 years.

Throughout history, 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. So travelers can still see many of its original faces. The well-preserved entire building will immerse you in the rich history of the Silk Road and to better appreciate the site, we advise you to discover it by walking through its ramparts.

The Great Wall of Jiayuguan (The Great Wall of Ming Dynasty)

Known by the name the “First and Greatest Pass under Heaven”, the Jiayuguan section of the Great Wall is 6 km southwest of Jiayuguan city and in the middle of the narrowest part of the valley. As the starting point to the west of the Great Wall and an essential route of the Silk Road, Jiayuguan was built in 1372 in the early Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). After construction that lasted 168 years, it became the most grandiose section of the great wall. In 1987, it was included in the list of world cultural heritage by UNESCO.

The Great Wall Hanging

It is called “Xuanbi Changcheng” in Chinese, which means the Great Wall hanging on the mountain wall. It was built in 1539, under the Ming Dynasty. Originally, the walls were more than 1.5 km long but today only 750 m remain. It is distinguished by its abrupt appearance which gives the impression that it is suspended in the air. Over the years, these ramparts have been developed and now form an extension of the fortress, and could access the towers by stairs.

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