• Jinshanling Great Wall

     

    The Jinshanling Great Wall is located about 140 kilometers (87 miles) northeast of Beijing city, China. It is the best preserved part of the Great Wall in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) with many original features. Jinshanling connects to the Simatai section of the wall in the east and Gubeikou section in the west.

    Dating back to the North Qi Dynasty (550-577), the wall, fortresses and passes were constructed in this area. You still can find the ruins of the wall in this period, mainly made of rammed earth. When the Ming Dynasty was established in 1368, General Xu Da was dispatched to rebuilt the wall between the Shanhaiguan Pass in the east and Juyongguan Pass in the west. Again in 1567, General Tan Lun and Qi Jiguang were appointed to guard the northern frontier of the capital in this area. Qi Jiguang spent 16 years to repair and reconstructed the wall of a total length of more than 1200 km in the northern frontier. The Jinshanling section is the best place we still can see the magnificent architectures of the Ming Dynasty. In terms of construction it is in no way inferior to the wall at Badaling. The Great Wall at the Jinshanling is seven meters high, six meters wide, and built of rectangular slabs of stone. The brick-paved walkway along the top of the wall is four meters wide and the crenellated openings two meters wide. In the merlons (the solid intervals between the crenels) there are small holes for observation and shooting arrows. There are also special openings between the crenels to insert flags for display or signal transmission.

    The Jinshanling Great Wall is situated on the Big and Small Jinshan mountains, hence its name. It has an elevation of 700 meters. Based on huge stone bars, the Great Wall was then made by huge bricks, each of which weighed about 12 kilograms (26 pounds). It has five main passes, 67 watchtowers and 2 beacon towers. Every 100 meters (328 feet), there is an watch tower each of which is about ten meters (33 feet) high. Featuring various structures and having various functions, those watchtowers are either one-tiered or two-tiered. On the first floor there are some windows for shooting arrows. The roofs of the towers are many and varied, flat, arched, quadrangular or octagonal. Some are used to store weapons and hay. Others are used as soldiers’ bedrooms. Among them, the most celebrated are the Big and Small Jinshan Watchtowers.

     

    Gubeikou Great Wall

     

    The Gubeikou Great Wall section is in and around Gubeikou District Town, 50 km northeast of Miyun County, and about 130 km northeast of downtown Beijing. This section is between the Baimaguan and Jinshanling sections. Hiking east, you will first reach Jinshanling, then Simatai.

     

    The geographical characters made Gubeikou section as a battle field for hundreds of years. To the west of the pass are the Chaohe River and the Wohu Mountain, and to the east is the Panlong Mountain. From ancient times, Gubeikou has served as a route of strategic importance, linking the southern and northern areas of the Yanshan Range. Set along the Yanshan Mountain range, Gubeikou Great Wall occupies a strategically important location which is difficult to access. As early as 2,500 years ago, a fortification was built here and was constantly reinforced throughout the following dynasties.

    The first section of the wall was built during the Northern Qi Dynasty (550 - 557). Centuries later, General Xuda was ordered to rebuild it in the early Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644). The defensive capability of the wall was enhanced by adding more stones. When Qi Jiguang was appointed the chief commanding officer of Ji Garrison (one of the eleven garrisons in Ming Dynasty), he laid another line of brick wall beside the original one, thus forming the unique Gubeikou double-lined Wall.

     

    This section has 143 beacon towers, each positioned at an average interval of 156 meters. The nearest two are only 30 meters apart. The inside of these towers varies in design.

    While some have a flat ceiling, others either have an arched ceiling, a domed ceiling, or an octagonal, painted ceiling.

    Each tower has two floors, six archways, and ten arched doors, allowing garrisoned soldiers to advance and retreat freely. The towers are also different in size. The largest one can accommodate a garrison of 100 soldiers, and the smallest one a garrison of 10 soldiers. The towers often have one to six portholes.

     

    Two Different Parts of the Gubeikou Section are the Wohushan and Panlongshan

    Wohushan Part

    The Wohushan length of Great Wall is 4.8 km long, west of Gubeikou Town. The highlight of Wohushan are the 'Sister Towers', two watchtowers that stand close to each other. At the river side, these two towers look like two sisters standing by the river hand in hand.

     

    Panlongshan Part

    The Panlongshan part of Gubeikou's Great Wall is about 5 km long, east of Gubeikou Town. Panlongshan was once said to include Jinshanling and Simatai West. General Tower and 24-Eye Tower are the highlights of the Panlongshan Wall.

     

    General Tower

    On Gubeikou Great Wall, the General Tower is the most famous. It is located at the commanding elevation of Panlongshan Mountain, from where wars were directed. There are four arrow windows on the north and south sides respectively, while each of the east and west sides have three.

     

    24-Eye Tower

    24-Eye Tower is about the 20th tower on Gubeikou East, and the highest at over 400m altitude, presiding over Longyukou pass. The first 2 km of Gubeikou's wall from the town has virtually no towers standing.

    24-Eye Tower had 24 observation windows, six on each side, which was rarely seen at other sections. But only the west and south walls remain. Hikers continue from there to the Jinshanling section, as it at the east end of Gubeikou, where it meets Jinshanling at Longyukou.

     

     

     

    All Posts
    ×