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The Great Wall News

'The Piano Guys' scales the Great Wall for video shoot

Internet sensation, the Piano Guys are in China. The Utah-based group took some precious time off their Asian tour in Singapore and Malaysia to fulfil their China dream - shooting a music video on the Great Wall of China...

September 16, 2013

Great Wall Forest Festival kicks off

The 2013 Yanqing Great Wall Forest Festival, the fourth edition of its kind, was held from August 24 to August 25 in the Tanglewood Music Valley at the foot of the Great Wall Badaling Section in Beijing's Yanqing County...

August 29, 2013

Jet Team above the Great Wall

Aircraft of Breitling Jet Team, a famous European aerobatic team, perform above the Great Wall of the Jiayuguan Pass in northwest China's Gansu Province, Aug. 13, 2013...

August 16, 2013

Unique section of the Great Wall draws in visitors

As people all know what the Great Wall looks like but did you know that some of it is built over water? The Jiumenkou section of the wall in Liaoning Province in North East China is famous for just that...

  August 09, 2013

Jiayu Pass (Jia-yu-guan)

Jiayu Pass (Jia-yu-guan)

Jiayu Pass is the first important pass at the west end of the Ming Great Wall. Jiayuguan City named after the pass is just located 6 northeast. Jiayu Pass is nestled in the middle of the narrowest part of the valley. Strategically built on a highland, the wall stretches 7 km northward to connect Heishan (Black Hill) Overhanging Great Wall, and extends 7 km southward to the No. 1 Beacon Tower.

First built in1372 (Ming Dynasty), the pass experienced 168 years of construction (1372-1539) until its completion. An interesting legend tells, when Jiayuguan was being planned, the officer in charge asked the designer to estimate the exact number of bricks required and the designer gave him a number. The general doubted the designer’s judgment, asking him if that would be enough, so the designer added one brick. When Jiayuguan was finished, there was only one brick left free, which was placed loose on one of the gates where it remains today.

Jiayu Pass (Jia-yu-guan)

The pass is trapezoid-shaped with a perimeter of 733 meters and an area of more than 33,500 square meters. The total length of the city wall is 733 meters and the height is 11 meters.

There are two gates: one on the east side of the pass, and the other on the west side. On each gate there is a building. An inscription of "Jiayuguan" in Chinese is written on a tablet at the building at the west gate. 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. Jiayuguan consists of three defense lines: an inner city, an outer city and a moat.

Among the passes on the Great Wall, Jiayuguan 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 different pass located at the east end of the Great Wall near Qinhuangdao, Hebei.

The pass was the most significant defense system to keep away the “barbarians” coming from west, and an indispensable station at the ancient Silk Road. In history, Jiayuguan has a somewhat fearsome reputation because many ex-officials being ousted from court were ordered to leave from here, and there was very little chance to come back.


Jiayuguan has a civil airport, but every few flights available. That is why the airport was once closed until June 2006. Only Beijing, Xian and Lanzhou has very limited flight connections with the city. Most tourist choose to take train from Xian or Lanzhou, then proceed to Dunhuang (Mogao Grotto) and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

The official site of Jiayuguan Tourism Administration:

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