Yanmenguan Pass of Great Wall

Yanmenguan Pass of Great Wall is located in the Gouzhu Mountain ranges, within the Hengshan Mountain range, 12 miles to the north of Dai County, in Shanxi Province. Along with Ningwuguan Pass and Pianguan Pass, Yanmenguan Pass is one of three important passes through the inner line of the Great Wall in the Shanxi section. It is also known by other names, namely Yanmensai and Xilongguan. Located at a place of strategic importance and difficult to get through, it was regarded as the principal one of the nine passes under heaven in ancient times. Many famous historical battles have been fought in the area.

Yan means 'wild goose' in English, and was so-named because wild geese are seen flying around the pass every year. Early in the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC - 476 BC), King Wuling of Zhao established Yanmen County in this region. The Tang Dynasty (618 - 907) built a pass called Xiting Pass by Yanmen Mountain, west of the present l ocation. In the year 1374 during the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644),the pass was rebuilt and moved to today's location.

This Great Wall pass is 0.6 miles wide. There are three gates: the small north gate, west gate and east gate. The small north gate is inscribed with the three characters, 'Yan Men Guan'; the west gate is labelled 'Di Li', meaning the favorable geographical location; the east gate is labelled 'Tian Xian', translated as the unbreakable stronghold. Adjacent to the pass, lies Jingbian Temple.

The Yanmenguan Pass of Great Wall is being well preserved at present. It is a precious ancient military relic, attracting more and more people who visit here to recall past times.

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