The Great Wall of China at Yumenguan and Yangguan (Yumen and Yang Passes)

Admission:

RMB 40

Hours:

How to get there:

The best way to get to Yumen Guan or Yang Guan is to take a bus, car, hired van or tourist bus from Dunhuang. The ride should take less than an hour and cost from RMB 20 (buses) to RMB 150 (round trip car ride).

These two gates formed the westernmost expansion of the Great Wall and represented the fringes of Chinese civilization for centuries.

Yumen Guan (Yùmén Guān, 玉门关), the "Jade Gate Pass," and Yang Guan (Yáng Guān, 阳关), the "Sun Pass," were built by Emperor Wudi more than 2,000 years ago and protected the Hexi Corridor entrance near Dunhuang from Hun invasions.

After the Han Empire solidified its control over the vital corridor along the Silk Road, the fortresses became trading outposts for jade caravans arriving from Hotan, and for silk and tea caravans heading west toward Persia and eventually Rome.

They were know as the "Little Square City," and Han rulers encouraged not only soldiers but also settlers to pick up and move to this frontier fortress—in the hopes of turning a fortress and trading post into a flourishing town.

But Yumen Guan and Yang Guan never became the town that the Chinese emperors hoped it would, and after the fall of the Han Dynasty, the wall here and the gates fell into ruins. The fortresses stood empty for centuries, having been largely supplanted by the larger Ming Dynasty fortress of Jiayu Guan.

Today a small square fortress and remnants of the Great Wall are still visible.

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