Architectural Odyssey

Juyongguan Great Wall

Updated: Aug 16, 2019 Print
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The Juyongguan (lit. Juyong Pass) Great Wall is a famous section of the Great Wall of China. Since ancient times, it has served as an impregnable pass and frontier garrison. It is located in a deep gorge on Jundu Hill, an arm of the Taihang Mountains.

The Juyongguan Great Wall winds through verdant mountains. [Photo/VCG]

Historically an important military installation, Juyong Pass was constructed with structures of various functions ensuring logistic supplies and effective management and governance, including northern and southern vault cities, gate towers, watch towers, water gates, offices of the Revenue Section and barns and libraries. The west-east sloping landform and the deep gorge with enclosed streams make an ideal environment for military defense systems.

A distant view of a section of the Juyongguan Great Wall [Photo/VCG]
Interior of the tower on the Great Wall [Photo/VCG]
The Juyongguan Great Wall and its remarkable green surroundings [Photo/VCG]

The Juyong Pass perches on overlapping mountain ranges, where the water flows are long, the vegetation is lush, and the scenery is pleasant. Since the 12th century (in China's Jin Dynasty), through the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties for more than 700 years, the particular scenery “The Great Wall Surrounded by Lush Greenery at the Juyong Pass ” (Juyong diecui) has always ranked first in the acclaimed Eight Scenes of Ancient Yanjing (Beijing). In the Yuan Dynasty (1272-1368), the Juyong Pass functioned as a major traffic artery from Beijing to Inner Mongolia. Since Yuan emperors often took this route between those places, temporary imperial palaces, temples, and gardens were constructed.

From the 14th to the early 20th century, a large number of temples and shrines of Buddhist, Taoist, and Confucianist origin were built in the Juyong Pass. They outnumber and rank higher in size and hierarchical status all others along the entire Great Wall of China. Some of the temples have now been restored to their original state.

The Cloud Terrace (Yuntai)

The extant Cloud Terrace (Yuntai) is the foundation of a street-crossing tower built in the Yuan Dynasty, and is a masterpiece of that period’s carving arts. The arch of the terrace shows elaborate Buddhist images and scriptures written in Sanskirt, Tibetan, Tangut script, Uighur, Phags-Pa , and Chinese. The Juyong Pass and the Cloud Terrace as a unity were designated a foremost protected cultural heritage site by the State in 1961.

Relief carving on the white marble wall of the arch of the Cloud Terrace (Yuntai) [Photo/IC]
Looking up in the Cloud Terrace ( Yuntai) [Photo/IC]


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