Shanhaiguan
2004-7-16 16:34:50     CRIENGLISH.com
Shanhaiguan , 17 kilometres from the tourist city of Qinhuangdao, served as a major pass in the eastern section of the Great Wall. It was built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) against the Yanshan Mountains facing the Bohai Sea.
As the strategic passage between North and Northeast China, the pass has been a bone of contention for military strategists since the ancient times. It has also been considered the No.1 pass of the Great Wall and the key to the defense of two ancient capitals -

Beijing in the east and Chang'an (Xi'an) in the west. Shanhaiguan Pass is a national tourist attraction and first strategic pass at the eastern terminus of the Great Wall.

Shanhaiguan Pass consists of a main castle, two supporting castles respectively in the north and south, and two semicircular protective walls in front of the main castle, the town of Weiyuan and the town of Ninghai. The brick wall of the pass, stuffed with earth, is 14 meters high, 7 meters wide and 4 kilometers in circumference. It is connected with the Great Wall which stretches onto the rolling Yanshan Mountains in the north and into the Bohai Sea in the south with parts and battlements that form a strong and powerful defensive system. On the east gate of the city wall stands a tower hung with a horizontal inscribed board reading: "The First Pass Uner the Heaven."
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