Jiayuguan Pass

Why is Jiayuguan Pass So Special?

 Different from the well-known Great Wall built of stone or brick, Jiayuguan Great Wall is built of rammed earth. Yellow is its main color, which helps the passageway to blend harmoniously with the surrounding desert. The city where the pass is located is named after the pass, also known as Jiayuguan Pass, and is located in Gansu Province in northwest China.

Where is Jiayuguan Pass

Located in the middle of the narrowest valley 5 kilometers west of Jiayuguan City in Gansu Province, the city walls on both sides of the city pass through the Gobi Desert, connect the Great Wall of Heishan to the north and connect the first pier in the world to the south. It is the gateway at the westernmost end of the Great Wall of Ming Dynasty and was once called Hexi Throat in history.

Main Attraction of Jiayuguan Pass

The inner city covers an area of 25,000 square meters (6 acres) and is surrounded by walls 640 meters (700 yards) and 11 meters (36 feet) high. It has two doors, one in the east and the other in the west, and is called guanghua and rouyuan. Each gate is protected by a smaller guard tower and a Barbican in front, forming another defensive barrier in the inner city.

Outside the inner city, there is another barrier that forms the first line of defense of the mountain pass-the outer city. As the main defensive point, the western wall of the outer city is made of brick, which makes it very strong. There is a three-story tower with a plaque on it that reads “Tian Xia Di Xiong Yi Pass” (the first and largest pass in the world) to illustrate the military importance and strength of Jiayu Pass.

In addition to the vast Gobi desert and solid military buildings, the ancient buildings at the pass are also worth visiting:

Youji General’s Office

This is a place in the inner city where the generals guarding Jiayu Pass handle military affairs. The conference hall in the front yard recreates the scenario where the generals plan their military strategy, and you can get a rough idea of the living conditions of the generals’ families in the back yard.

Wenchang Hall

This is a two-story pavilion in front of the inner city. It follows the same design style as the gatehouse and is decorated with lattice doors and windows. Until the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), this pavilion was a good place for scholars to read, draw and write poems. Since then, it has become a workplace for civilian officials.

Temple of Guan Yu

Outside the city of Dongbabikan, people pay tribute to Guan Yu, the invincible general of Shu state.

Opera Tower

It is located near East Babikan outside the inner city. In the old society, soldiers, local residents and tour businessmen often watched operas there to relax. Chinese cultural symbols such as red pillars, upturned cornices, exquisitely carved beams and murals of the Eight Immortals can be found there.

Jiayuguan Great Wall Museum

It looks like a huge white lighthouse at the east gate of the scenic spot. Here, you can better understand the architectural history of this huge defense line, and look at ancient weapons and paintings of the Great Wall.

Best Time to Travel Jiayuguan Pass

The best travel time is from June to October.

Because late summer and early autumn are the best and the weather is the best, but in fact the summer at Jiayuguan is not hot either.

How To Get There

  • By bus

    Take bus no.4 or no.6 to the terminal station, and walk to the ticket office. The two bus lines both operate from 7:00 to 20:00 and costs CNY 1.

  • By minibus

    If you want to visit the First Fire Tower and the Overhanging Great Wall all together, it is recommended to charter a minibus from the city. It would cost CNY 150~180/per bus.

Useful Travel Tips

Admission Fee May to October: CNY 110
November to April: CNY 90
Sightseeing car inside the pass CNY 10
Opening Hours May to October: 8:30 – 20:00
November to April: 8:30 – 18:00
Recommended Time to Visit May to October
  • It takes about two hours to finish the whole trip. Visitors who prefer a less strenuous experience can pay CNY 10 to rent a bike at the gate of the scenic area.The ramparts and gate towers are the best viewing points to admire the surrounding scenes.
  • Standing on the tower, it feels like you are alone in the vast desert with snow-capped Qilian Mountain in the distance. It’s a perfect frontier experience.
  • The best time to take pictures is at sunset. The old pass looks magnificent with the scarlet sunlight slanting across the land.
  • You can also get a bird-eye view of the pass by paraglider. Each glider can only take one person at a time. The price is CNY 300/per person.

Nearby Attractions

Recommended Gansu Tour Packages

Edited by Doreen/张洋