Jade Gate (Yumen) Pass was a strategic fort on the ancient Silk Road. It was so named because the jade of the Xinjiang region was transported to Central China through this frontier pass. Together with the fort at Yang Pass (Yang Guan) it protected Dunhuang against invasion from the west.
In his poem "Go North of the Great Wall", the Tang Dynasty (618– 907) poet Wang Zhihuan wrote the famous line, "Beyond Yumen Pass the breath of spring has never crossed". The mention of Yumen Pass in the poem has made the pass all the more famous.
Situated 70 km (45 mi) northwest of Dunhuang (100 km (60 mi) by road), this ancient relic is accessed by a 2 hour coach journey. The views of the vast golden dunes of the Singing Sand (Mingsha) Mountains to the south are the highlights of the arid landscape.