Juyonguan, the most magnificent stronghold in the world, is one of the most ancient and prominent parts of Great Wall. It outshines the rest for its grand scale and profound cultural content.
Nestling among the steep valleys belong to the stretch of Mt Taihangin in Changping District (昌平区), Juyongguan Pass is a wonderful site 48 km from downtown Beijing. Snaking its way along the steep mountain ranges, it meets the horizon in the far distance and shelters temples, pavilions and warehouses inside. Red wall, green tiles and paintings add beauty to each other. Among its ancient walls and corners poetry inscriptions are engraved, making it a perfect hiking and cultural tour embrace both picturesque scenery as well as mysterious cultural relics.
Juyongguan Pass deprives its name from Qin Dynasty when Emperor Qin Shihuang dispatched a massive group of soldiers composed by criminals, young soldiers and migrant workers to build the Great Wall, which is called "徙居庸徒" (literally means"Move the Common and Mediocre People Here").
For thousands of years, Juyongguan Pass enjoys the reputation as "The Most Magnificent Pass" of the Great Wall. The crooked walls in Mt Cuipingshan ridge in the east and Mt Jinguishan ridge in the west were restored in 1993, covering a distance of 4142m. Standing on the newly-repaired stronghold of Juyongguan Pass, you can see them converge at the mountain summit, forming an enclosed circular. For Juyongguan Pass determines the fate of Peking city, so it is a matter of life and death to build a safeguard wall in this site, and it has to be indestructible. Together with Zijinguan Pass (紫荆关),Daomaguan Pass (倒马关),Guguan Pass (固关),they are famed as Top Four Passes since Ming dynasty.
►Historic Statues of Juyongguan Pass
Historically, the Juyongguan Pass has been a key military stronghold because of its special geographical condition and steep 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.
Features of Juyongguan Pass
It is an enclosed circular architecture;
The width and height of it vary dramatically: the widest point of it is 16.7 m while the narrowest part is only 1.2m, and Dongshan Section Great Wall is 370 m higher than that of Hetao Section Great Wall. Featuring steep exterior wall, Juyongguan assumes an imposing air and boasts interior steps designed to be agreeable for ascending and easy to attack enemies;
The architecture styles vary here, making Juyongguan the essential part of the Great Wall. Its bases span from granite to bricks and stones, indicating different periods of construction;
Covering an area of over 50 hectare, Juyongguan also features massive defense area. South Juancheng(南券城) and North Juancheng(北券城) overlook each other 850m and Dongshan Ridges echoes Xishan Ridge 1150m in straight line.
Cultural Content of Juyongguan Pass
Juyongguan is renowned for its steepness and rich cultural relics. There are large quantities of stone inscriptions, nearly 20 steles and 170 poetries scatter within it.
Military Watch Site
Stone Inscription of Yuan Dynasty
Doorway of Juyongguan
►Great Sights of Juyongguan Great wall
In the middle of Juyongguan Pass, there a cross-street pagoda base foundation called Yuntai(云台), which means "it looks like staying in the clouds when you seeing from afar". It was built from 1342 to 1345, of white marble stones, 9.5 meters high 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 fire. Now just the base of the foundation is left.
The arch doorway(拱券) here sheds light on the outstanding stone carving skills during ancient times.
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.
Horse God Temple(马神庙)
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.
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Pangong Stone Memorial Arch(泮宫石坊)
Museum of Juyongguan
Juyongguan: one of the top eight scenic site of Yanjing(Peking)