Great Wall of China at Jiayuguan (Jiayuguan Fort)

Admission:

RMB 61 adult, RMB 31 student

Hours:

8:30 am to 7:30 pm, daily

How to get there:

5 km (3 mi) outside of Jiayuguan proper, the fort can be reached with a short cab ride (approx RMB 10) from town. Those electing to cycle can reach the fort in about 30-minutes.

Once considered the end of the "civilized" world, Jiayuguan Fort (Jiāyùguān Chénglóu, 嘉峪关城楼) was Imperial China's westernmost stronghold at the end of the Great Wall. Beyond the fort's walls; primal fears in the forms of elemental demons and barbarian armies waited to ambush disgraced officials and exhiled poets cast out through the Gate of Conciliation (Róuyuǎn Lóu, 柔远楼). On the opposite side of the fort, the Gate of Enlightenment (Guānghuá  Lóu, 光化楼), where law-abiding citizens of the empire could come and go as they pleased. 

Built in 1372 to guard the perilous track continuing on between the Qilian Mountains (Qílián Shān, 祁连山) and the Black Mountains (Hēi Shān, 黑山), the fort, a classic imperial icon, now plays host to travelers eager to play the role of imperial guard on the fort's 10-meter high (33 ft) walls, and for visitors looking to brush up on their history at the excellent Jiayuguan Museum of the Great Wall (Jiāyùguān Chángchéng Bówùguǎn, 嘉峪关长城博物馆). 

Other areas of interest include Guanyu Temple (Guāndì Miào, 关帝庙), situated just outside the east gate, a host of pavilions along the walls themselves, and the General's Mansion. The Overhanging Great Wall, a dramatic section of the wall that climbs up a nearby mountain, is located about 9 km (5.5 mi) from the fort.

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