Great Wall re-discovered

Hebei province: Shanhai Pass and Jinshanling Great Wall

Updated: Dec 20, 2021 Print
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Hebei province geographically surrounds the capital of China, Beijing, and another municipality, Tianjin. Historically, the area also included many important military sites for the defense of Beijing, which was the capital of several feudal dynasties. It is home to several famous Great Wall sites.

The First Pass under Heaven (Tianxia diyi guan) battlement watchtower [Photo/VCG]

Shanhai Pass, or Shanhaiguan, 15 kilometers from the tourist city of Qinhuangdao, Hebei, got its name (Pass of Mountain and Sea) from being situated between the Yanshan Mountains and Liaodong Bay in the Bohai Sea.It was an important pass during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

The Shanhai Pass extends to the sea [Photo/VCG]

The Yanshan Mountains is an east-west mountain range that separates the warmer and richer Central Plain from the colder Eurasian Steppe to the north. Given this incomparable strategic position, the Shanhai Pass was once the most important outpost and choke point against nomadic minorities in northeast China, such as the Khitan, Jurchen and Manchu. Shanhaiguan has long been regarded as the easternmost stronghold of the Ming Great Wall, and the first barrier to guard the border area, earning it the nickname " First Pass under Heaven”.

Historians generally believe that the passage of Qing troops led by Dorgon through Shanhai Pass marked the beginning of the establishment of Qing dominance in the Central Plain of China. It is also unique in terms of its landscape: in addition to the main part of the wall built along the ridge, the easternmost part of the Shanhai Pass actually reaches the sea. It is the Pass of Mountain and Sea in name as well as in reality.

The Jinshanling Great Wall is celebrated for its good condition and densely distributed defense structures. [Photo/Official website of the Jinshanling Great Wall]

The Jinshanling Great Wall is another notable section in Hebei province, located in a mountainous area in Luanping county, Chengde. It was built starting from 1570 during the Ming Dynasty, and is about 700 meters above sea level. Due to its winding architecture, broad view, high building density, and well-preserved condition, it has gained popularity and a good reputation.

The Jinshanling Great Wall is listed as a top-rated tourist attraction, reaching the same status as the Badaling and Mutianyu sections of the Great Wall.

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