Yanmenguan Pass Great Wall

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Yanmenguan Pass Great Wall

Day by Day Itinerary



Yanmen Guan is part of the Outer Great Wall in Shanxi Province, just north of Taiyuan, and forms a chokepoint with Ningwu Guan as the central linchpin (and garrison base) and Pian Guan as the westernmost stronghold.

As the stronghold on the eastern flank, Yanmen Guan saw a lot of fighting throughout the centuries. It was first built during the Zhou Dynasty and then fortified over subsequent dynasties, especially the Tang and the Ming dynasties.

It is a spectacular section of the wall, made up of three fortresses, the central fortress is built over a tiny pass between two hills and is called Yanmen (Yan means "wild goose"—the fort and pass are named after the wild geese that migrate through this area each year). The western gate is called Di Li which is the second half of a Chinese quotation, Tian Shi Di Li which means to choose the proper weather, time and location for a battle—Di Li being the proper location. The eastern gate is called Tian Xian which translates into "natural barrier," but is meant to describe an impregnable fortress.

The gates and fortress themselves are restored and a sight to behold, but the walls leading out from here swiftly crumble into ruins.