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Jiayuguan Pass

Jiayuguan Pass was initially built in 1372 during the Ming Dynasty, and has a history of more than 600 years. It is located 6 kilometers southwest of Jiayuguan City in Gansu Province. The pass lies at the narrowest point of the western section of the Hexi Corridor between two hills at the foot of Jiayuguan hill. It is the first pass at the west end of the Great Wall of China and also a must point of the ancient Silk Road. So it is praised as "The First and Greatest Pass under the Heaven". This is different from "The First Pass under the Heaven", which is located at the east end of the Great Wall near Qinhuangdao City in Hebei Province.

The pass is trapezoid-shaped with a perimeter of 733 meters and with an area of more than 33,500 square meters. There are two gates on the east and west sides of the pass. There is a tower on the top of each gate. The Chinese inscription of "Jiayuguan Pass" is on the west gate tower. The south and north sides of the pass are connected to the Great Wall. Turret was built on each corner of the pass. Wide roads leading to the top of the pass on the north side inside the two gates.

A legend says that when Jiayuguan Pass was to be built, the designer calculated that it would need 99,999 bricks to build the Jiayuguan Pass. When the project was finished, only one brick was left which was placed on the pass as a symbol of commemoration. The brick was kept there and never moved. It can still be found on the tower of the Jiayuguan Pass today.

Jiayuguan Pass is the most intact ancient military building preserved from all the passes on the Great Wall. It will be a pity if you miss it when come to China.

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