The Juyongguan (居庸关) Section of Great Wall is in Changping District (昌平区) fifty kilometers to downtown Beijing. It got its name in the Qin Dynasty, it was said that when Qinshihuang's soldiers and subjects were building the Great Wall, they put the criminals, young soldiers and migrant workers to live there, so it had been called "徙居庸徒" which meant "Move the Common and Mediocre People Here", and also known as The Most Magnificent Pass in the World.
Historically, the Juyongguan Pass has always been strategically important because of its special geographical condition and dangerous landscape. Juyongguan has two passes, one in the south and the other in the north, which the latter has been known as Juyongguan Pass. The pass we see today is the site that has been built under the supervision of Xu Da, a general of Zhu Yuanzhang, the First Emperor of the Ming Dynasty. It was the northwestern gate of ancient Beijing City.
The both sides of the Juyongguan Pass are steep mountains. In the middle, there is a deep valley of a length of 18 kilometers. It is green all round with many high verdant peaks stood. Birds are flying and singing too. So the valley has been known as one of the Eight Great Sights of Yanjing, the capital of the ancient Yan State.
During the Spring and Autumn Era, Yan State had already occupied Juyongguan Pass. In the Han Dynasty, the large scale of the pass area had been formed. Later in the Southern and Northern Dynasties, Juyongguan Pass was linked with the Great Wall. In Tang and some later feudal dynasties, this area had castles and fortresses.
The rebuilding and expansion had been made in the Ming Dynasty. And in late Qing Dynasty, it was abandoned due to chaotic situation of the time. However, now it is still being a window for people who would like to know more about the military history and culture of ancient China.
Great Sights of Juyongguan Great Wall
In the middle of Juyongguan Pass, there a cross-street pagoda base foundation called Yuntai, which means "it looks like staying in the clouds when you seeing from afar". It was built in 1342 to 1345, of white marble stones, 9.5 meters height and 25 meters wide and in the classical architectural style of the Yuan Dynasty. At the center of the base foundation, there is an arch doorway for pedestrians, horses and carriages to pass through. It is carved with images of animals, plants and Buddha.
Three Lama Pagodas and a Buddhist Temple had been built in late Yuan Dynasty and early Ming Dynasty respectively, but they were all destroyed by serious damage and great fire. Now just the base foundation is left.
The South Pass' Earthen Castle is shaped like a horse's hoof. During battles, the enemies will be caught inside the Earthen Castle when they are running through a hidden battlement and they can't escape. Emplacements are set up at the North Castle. There is a War Temple built, with the solemn images of the Twelve Chinese Horoscopes, God of Water and Fire, General God of Eight Skies and True War King.
The five ancient cannons are being displayed near the walls of South and North Passes. They were from the Ming Dynasty. This period was the best era for making ancient cannons in China.
The Stone Carvings at Yuntai are a great scene to be recommended. They are seen on the sides and the top in the archway. The Buddha images are lifelike, which are of excellent craftsmanship, with Buddhist sutras and conjurations in six different languages (such as Sanskrit, Tibetan, Chinese and Basiba which is a language derived from Tibetan made under the order of the Yuan Emperor Kublai Khan as Mongolian new letters, but it had been used for a brief period). They are invaluable resources for Buddhist history researchers and archeological enthusiasts. Also, the stone sculptures have been listed as China's key protection culture heritage in 1961.
The Water Gate is designed in the astonishing mountain landscape which there are two mountains with a narrow waterway in between. The water is being flowed through Juyongguan Pass, and the Water Gate is built at the junction area. This is used for controlling the flowing amount of water, which will be varied drastically by seasonal changes. In the flood season, it will drain the water and in draught time it can store the water for Juyongguan Pass soldiers' daily use.
Transportation and Price
You can go to Juyongguan either by bus or train. Bus routes nos. 919 and Tourism 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 can as far as Juyongguan Pass. At the Beijing North Railway Station, take Train No. 6427 and alight at Juyongguan Station. It takes about two hours and the fare is 3.5 RMB (hard seat only).
Admission : during busy season, 45 RMB for adult while student is 25, for off season adult 40 RMB and student 22.5 RMB.
Opening hours : 8:00 – 17:00 daily.
Writer: David from Seeraa International
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