The Yan­men­guan: Fortress and Trade Route

China Scenic - - Contents - By Lu Shun­min

The Yan­men­guan in north­ern Shanxi Prov­ince was not only im­pres­sive in size and beauty, but also a place of =an­cient mil­i­tary im­por­tance. It was a piece of his­tory that had en­dured the vi­cis­si­tudes of wars, changes and clashes of cul­tures.

The con­struc­tion of the Great Wall reached its peak dur­ing the Ming Dy­nasty and the Yan­men­guan sec­tion was among the most rep­re­sen­ta­tive ones. Run­ning along the ridge of the Gouzhu Moun­tains, the Great Wall of Yan­men­guan re­sem­bles a gi­ant snake winding among the moun­tains. Although built dur­ing the Ming Dy­nasty, this sec­tion of Great Wall was con­structed on the foun­da­tions of the ru­ins of much older walls built dur­ing the North­ern Wei nearly 1000 years ago. Even to­day, Yan­men­guan Great Wall main­tains its orig­i­nal look of scarred walls and col­lapsed tow­ers.

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