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Yumenguan Pass Great Wall

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Admission Fee: CNY40
Opening Hours: 08:00 - 18:00
Best Visiting Time: May to October
Location: A square-shape castle, Yumenguan, a major thoroughfare on the Ancient Silk Road, is located on a sandstone hill about 90 km (55.9 miles) northwest of Dunhuang City

 Introduction: Serving as a crucial gateway from western regions to central China in ancient times, Yumenguan is a rectangular castle standing in the Gobi desert in the western part of the Hexi Corridor. South of Yumenguan City are swamps; in the near north is the Hala Lake; further to the north is the great wall; north of the great wall is the ancient water course of the Shule River. Yumenguan is west-to-east with a beacon tower every 5-10 li (1.6 - 3.1 miles). Rammed with yellow clay, the pass covers an area of over 600 square miles (717.6 square yards), with two gates in the north and west. The city walls are 10 meters (32.8 feet) high, 3 meters (3.3 yards) wide at the top and 5 meters (5.5 yards) at bottom, built with jagged parapets and horse roads. On the top of the city walls, there is a walking passage measuring 1.4 yards wide for visitors to walk around to enjoy the surrounding views.

 Origin of the Name: Initially called 'Small Square City', it was located in an area of complex terrain, surrounded swamps, crisscrossing gullies, dense forests and wild weeds. Thus, the caravans often lost their way when passing by here, and even those old horses or camels which had ever passed the place many times would be in a fog. To mark the way, a big jade was set in on the top of the gate tower. Thereafter, the passing caravans had never got lost there, and then the name was changed into Yumenguan (Jade Gate Pass).

 History: Since the Qin and Han dynasties, the threat from the warlike Huns became more and more serious. In the early Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD), the Huns defeated the Donghu tribe in the east, expelled Dayuezhi in the west and occupied Hexi Region finally. Based on Hexi Region, the Huns often attacked the border with the Han Dynasty. So the Han Dynasty adopted the 'connections through marriages' policy to maintain temporary peace. However, the short peace was destroyed again by the Huns' frequent invasion and rapine later. During the reign of Emperor Wudi, the 'connections through marriages' policy was replaced by a large-scale military revival, and the Huns were finally struck forcefully. At the same time, the emperor had Yangguan and Yumenguan built in the western part of the Hexi Corridor to to strengthen the stability of the western frontier.

 Transportation: Since it is far from Dunhuang City, it is better to rent a car.

 Dining and Accommodation: Located in the Gobi desert, there are no dinning or lodging areas close to the attraction. Visitors have to stay and dine in Dunhuang City.

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