Great Wall of China at Gu Guan (Guguan Pass)



How to get there:

The wall is located off the expressway between Taiyuan and Shijiazhuang (Shíjiāzhuāng Shì, 石家庄市). Take a bus from the Taiyuan bus station to Yangquan (Yángquán Shì, 阳泉市), then from there take a bus to Niangzi Guan. Hire a car from Niangzi Guan to get to Gu Guan. Set your price before setting out, but it should run you RMB 25 one way.

This once strategic pass in the Great Wall, Gu Guan (Gǔ Guān, 谷关), also known as Guguan Pass, has largely fallen to ruin like most of the Great Wall across the northern borders of China. Proud locals began restoring the wall in the 1990s and later efforts to the fort and towers at the pass largely brought it to its former state. Beyond the restored sections, the original wall is little more than a line of crumbled stone and dirt.

Cannon replicas look out from guard posts over the path through the gate, which still bears the wheelruts from ancient cannon. The wall stretches up along the mountain ridges riding up on either side of the gate, dotted with watch towers.

The wall at Gu Guan has long been an important location, occupying a valley breaking through the region's mountains (the name literally means "valley pass"). First built in 369 BC, the wall would later be incorporated into the Qin Dynasty Great Wall and later restored as part of the Ming Dynasty Great Wall. The pass saw battles as late as the Boxer Uprising (1899-1901), when Qing troops were stationed to guard the pass as well as the pass at Niangzi Guan. Both positions were attacked by Allied troops in an effort to reach the relocated imperial court in Xi'an.

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