Pian Guan (Piān Guān, 偏关) is remarkeable for being the first time the Great Wall touches the Yellow River. Fortifications like this one, with a natural barrier on one side and a long snaking wall on the other, are strategic linchpins in the Great Wall.
Pian Guan is located northwest from Taiyuan, in Pian Guan Country, along the foothills of the Guancen Mountains and just south of Inner Mongolia. It is the point where the Outer Wall rejoins the Inner Wall and where the mountains meet the river.
Pian Guan is one of the most picturesque sections of the wall: a lone, deserted tower perched above cliffs that descend into the flowing Yellow River below. Pian Guan is the western link in the Inner Wall of the Shanxi Great Wall, built 1500 years ago during the Warring States period.The center is held by Ningwu Guan, the site of this section's garrison and the eastern flank is held by Yanmen Guan, which is just north of Taiyuan in central Shanxi Province.
The wall here was built up over the centuries since the Warring States period, but fell into disrepair in the last 200 years and today only piles of stones and one solitary arched gate by the river remain.
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