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Jiayuguan, literally means "Excellent Valley Pass”, refers to the western starting point of the Great Wall built in Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It is the most magnificent and best-preserved pass along the Ming Great Wall, widely known as the“Impregnable Pass under Heaven”.
Located at the middle of Hexi Corridor and 6 kilometers southwest of Jiayuguan City, the Jiayuguan used to be the frontier fortress in ancient China, as well as an important hub on the Silk Road. It covers an area of about 33,500 square meters, with a perimeter of 733 meters and a height of 11 meters. The pass consists of three defense lines: an inner city, an outer city and a moat. Its trapezoid-shaped inner city mainly has two gates, namely the eastern Guanghua Gate and the western Rouyuan Gate. On each gate there is a building. The Chinese inscription of "Jiayuguan" written on a tablet can be seen on 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 can date back to the year of 1372 during the Ming Dynasty. Here is an interesting story about this pass. It is said that when Jiayuguan Pass was being planned, the official in charge wanted the designer to tell him the exact number of bricks without wasting a single brick. The designer did as he told. After its completion, there was only one brick left, which is still put on the top of the pass as a symbol of commemoration nowadays.