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Jiayuguan Pass

Jiayuguan Pass or Jiayu Pass is the first pass at the west end of the Great Wall of China, 6 kilometers southwest of the city of Jiayuguan in Gansu province. "Guan" means "pass" in Chinese. Along with Juyongguan and Shanhaiguan( at the east end of the Great Wall near Qinhuangdao, Hebei), it is one of the main passes of the Great Wall.

The pass is trapezoid-shaped with a perimeter of 733 meters and an area of more than 33,500 square meters. The height of the Pass wall is 11 meters.
The Jiayuguan Pass was constructed in1372. Legend has it that the official in charged of the construction of the pass demanded the designer to estimate the exact number of bricks required and not squander a single brick. The designer gave a number. The official questioned his judgment, asking him if that would be enough, so the designer added one brick. When the project was finished, only one brick was surplus to requirements. This one brick was actually left at the site and has become famous among visitors.


The Jiayuguan Pass is constructed in three concentric layers:
The central area is made up of an inner city, containing the largest of the pass' buildings.
An outer city section, surrounded by a large wall dotted with watchtowers, turrets, and high-terrace pavilions.
A moat, for purposes of defense, is surrounding around the outer city section.
All of these features combined to make it a daunting defense building for any would-be attackers.
The inner city has both east and west gates, known as the Guanghua and Rouyuan respectively. Each of the city gates is also protected by its Weng cheng (an enclosure wall). In the inner city are some tourist spots including a general's Mansion, Wenchang Hall and Jing Pavilion. Found outside the fort's east gate are the Guandi Temple, a series of grand archways and a theater tower.
The south and north sides of the pass are connected to the Great Wall.

Among the passes on the Great Wall, Jiayuguan is the most intact surviving ancient military building. The pass is also known by the name “the First and Greatest Pass Under Heaven" The pass was a key waypoint of the ancient silk road. Many murals were found in the areas around Jiayuguan.


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