- Shanhaiguan Pass Great Wall
- The First Pass Under Heaven
- Tour at Shanhaiguan
- On the Wall
- Distant View
Admission Fee: CNY 40 (May to Oct.); CNY 35 (Nov. to the next Apr.)
Opening Hours: 08:10 - 16:00
Best Visiting Time: April to October especially August to September
Location: Located at the foot of the Yanshan Mountain and the seashore of the Bohai Sea, Shanhaiguan Pass Great Wall, an important pass of the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644) wall in the eastern part, is about 15 km (9.3 miles) northeast of Qinhuangdao City.
Introduction: Renowned as the 'First Pass under Heaven', Shanhaiguan occupied the strategic position between Northeast China and Central China, serving as an important communication hub at peacetime and points of battle during war-time. Originally, the great wall spread over 4 km (2.5 miles) with a height of around 12 m (39.4 feet), surrounded by a 16 m (17.5 yards) wide and 8 m (8.7 yards) deep moat. There was a gate on each of the four sides of the pass, namely, Zhendong, Wangyang, Ying'en and Weiyuan gates. Outside each the four gates were built with Luocheng (a tower for watching the enemies and directing the troop in battles) in the east and west and Yicheng (wing city) in the north and south for stationing troops. At the same time, Weiyuan City, a beacon tower, a watch tower and other supplementary facilities were set up several yards away. All of the constructions above formed a complete defensive system, supporting the pass.
Because of wars and natural erosion, the eastern gate tower, the gate tower of the 'First Pass under Heaven', is the only existent one of the original four gates here. In the north and south of the tower, the Jingbian Tower, Muying Tower, Linlv Tower and some other constructions are also kept well. Besides, most of the walls, main streets and lanes in the are kept in good condition especially many courtyard residences have been especially well-preserved, which makes the it more elegant with classic simplicity.
History: According to historical records, Northern Qi (550 - 577), Sui (581 - 618) and Tang (618 - 907) dynasties all had built walls in the shanhaiguan area. There are still Northern Qi great wall sites in Shimenzhai Town in Funing County and Qinhuangdao City nowadays. The present wall was originally built by General Xu Da of the Ming Dynasty in 1381. Since the pass was just between the mountain and sea spelling 'Shan' and 'Hai' in Chinese, so it was named Shanhaiguan. Later, during the Jia-jing period of the Ming Dynasty, between 1522 and 1565 to be exact, General Qi Jiguang rebuilt it and the nearby Jiaoshan great wall. Also, he constructed the Yicheng and the Weiyuan City on the Huanxiling in the north and east of the pass respectively. Coming to the Congzhen Period, Sun Chengzong, a Grand Secretary of the late Ming Dynasty, built the Yicheng and Ninghai City in the south and at the seashore. Thereafter, the firm and well-organized Shanhaiguan defensive system was finished.
Attractions: Being a famous historical and cultural city, Shanhaiguan has over 90 places of interest, including Laolongtou, Mengjianv Temple, Jiaoshan, Great Wall Museum and the First Pass under Heaven. Among them, the most well-known is the 'First Pass under Heaven' gate tower coordinating with Jiayuguan, 'First and Greatest Pass under the Heaven' from afar. It is also famous as a summer resort for its pleasant climate and beautiful natural landscape. For example, Xuanyang Cave is the largest natural granite cave in northern China, Yansai Lake is famed as a dazzling pearl on the northern frontier, and the Changshou Mountain is acclaimed as 'A Natural Garden at the Foot of the Great Wall'.
Transportation: Visitors can take a flight, train or long-distance bus to Qinhuangdao City first, and then transfer to Bus No. 33, 23, 24 or 25. Meanwhile, it's also convenient and not expensive to take a taxi from Qinhuangdao City to the scenic spot.
Dining: With Qing He Hun Guo Zi, a kind of hotpot, as the representative, there are many delicious local snacks, including Great Wall Fern Leaves Cake, Sitiao Steamed Stuffed Bun and Flour Tea. Meanwhile, all kinds of seafood are also worth tasting.
Accommodation: There are some hotels near the attraction, but their reception capacity is limited. However, Shanhaiguan is near to Qinhuangdao and Beidaihe which provide a great variety of accommodation for visitors, including all grades of hotels, hostels, inns as well as beach houses.
Popular Tour Routes:
A. Beidiahe → Shanhaiguan
B. Beidaihe → Nandaihe → Shanhaiguan (→ Chengde Summer Resort)