Jaiyuguan (Jiayu Pass) is the most western end of the Great Wall. Also known as "the First and Greatest Pass under Heaven", Jiayu Pass is the best preserved and most magnificent military building among the passes of the Great Wall.
It is one of the main passes of the Great Wall, along with Juyong Pass and Shanhai Pass. It is located at the narrowest point of the western part of Hexi Corridor, and was a key passageway of the ancient Silk Road. It commands fascinating views of the boundless Gobi Desert and the snow-capped Qilian Mountains.
China Highlights Recommendation: Jiayuguan Pass is well preserved and its buildings are magnificent. The architectural complex of the castle is magnificently exquisite. Its towers and pavilions have a classic beauty and grandeur with their roofs upturned at the end of the ridges.
Dimensions: Covering an area of 34 square kilometers (8 acres), the pass was built with rammed earth and is shaped like a trapezoid. The pass has a good layout with a three-storied gate tower, 4 corner towers and consisting of an inner city wall, outer city wall, trenches, and fortifications with walls around them. The walls are 10 meters (33 feet) tall on average and exceptionally thick.
History: The initial construction began in 1372. It got its name for being located on the Jayu Highland between the Wenshu and Heishan mountains at the foot of the Qilian Mountains. Once abandoned, it was rebuilt, reinforced and garrisoned in 1539. In the Qing Dynasty (1636 - 1911) it became an office for checking merchants and travelers.
Sceneries: Tourists will always experience different scenes in all directions regardless of seasons. What is the best time to visit the Great Wall?
When to go
The scenery of the Great Wall varies with the seasons and each season has its pros and cons. Click here for what you can expect on the Great Wall.
Jiayu Pass is located in 6 kilometers (4 miles) southwest of Jianyuguan City of Gansu Province, or 380 kilometers (236 miles) from Dunhuang City, or 750 kilometers (466 miles) from Lanzhou City. China Highlights use high-quality air-conditioned private transport to take the hassle out of getting to the wall.
What to Wear
Dress for walking and dress for the weather. Choose comfortable footwear with good grip and support for the feet. Layers of clothes that can be taken on and off allow for greater comfort and temperature control. Wear/bring sun protection in the summer and dress for sub zero temperatures in the winter.
What to Bring
Bring breathable waterproofs for protection from rain and wind. Umbrellas may be used here as the ascents and descents are not difficult, but may be inconvenient in strong winds. Bring a camera and money for souvenirs and refreshments. Bring snacks and water if you want to walk a long portion of the wall.
The Great Wall at Jiayuguan is well preserved and therefore walking conditions pose no significant risks.
If you want to see more of the Great Wall of China, see here for a list of the sections.