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Mountain Pass City

- of the Great Wall

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The mountain pass city is a major defence stronghold along the Great Wall of the Ming Dynasty. During emergency, top generals and high-ranking officers were stationed in the mountain pass city, whose location was considered to be of great importance. In order to control strategic point, using fewer soldiers to ward off the attack of large number of invading enemy, mountain pass city had to be built on top of mountain, cliff, deep gully or gorge. Sometimes it was in the bend of a river or gulf. It could also be a place where mountain and the sea meet. The right selection of the location, therefore, is all important and may lead to excellent result.

Mountain pass city constitutes a defence system by itself. The Juyongguan Pass, for instance, had been built in a 15-km gully surrounded by many mountains, where successive lines of defence had been set up. To the south is Nankou Pass. To the north are Shangguann Pass and BadalingPass (Beikou Pass). Beyond Badaling are outposts: chadaocheng (city built on forked path), furnace or beacon fire site, city wall, etc.

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