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Architecture of Beacon Fire Site

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Discover the architecture of beacon fire site:

Juyongguan Great WallBeacon Fire Site is an independent high platform, with attached houses and facilities to make smoke or start fire, either on top or below the raised platform. Underneath the platform is the sleeping quarter for soldiers, stable and warehouse. The building materials and the structure of beacon fire site are the same as for other defence works. They are either built of stones or rammed earth or bricks and stones. They are roughly divided into four types:

  • one type is built on two sides, close to the Great Wall.
  • Another type is built outside the Great Wall, extending to far away place.
  • A third type is linked with royal prefecture, royal county or the capital.
  • The fourth type is linked to neighboring prefecture, county, mountain pass or fortressed town in the military zone.

The raised platform is five zhang in height. The base is two zhang in width. The topis one zhang. The platform is round in shape. A round house covers the platform. The house measures one zhang six chi. It projects out three chi on one side, covered with planks.

In the house are installed three furnaces, which project outside. Three more furnaces are built below. The furnaces are plastered with lime. Three places for fuel wood are erected. There are three ropes for lighting the fire. A small ladder is used. Windows are built in walls to watch enemy movement. A firing tube, flag, drum, two bows, a driving device for starting fire on flint, stones, wood, water jar, food provision, hemp, rocket, common artemisia, wolf dung, cow dung, etc. stand by.


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