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The Suspended Great Wall

he great wall on the cliff

Shiguanxia (or Stone Pass Gorge) is also known as Shuiguanxia (Water Pass Gorge) with the snow capped Qilian Mountains to the south and the towering Black Mountain to the north, where the Suspended Great Wall is an important part of the Jiayuguan Great Wall.

History of the Suspended Great Wall

The magnificent Suspended Great Wall, built by the Gansu patrol commander, Li Han, in the 19th year of the Emperor Jiajing’s reign during the Ming Dynasty, perches to the north of Black Mountain Valley, and it has a long and steep wall. The wall,whose construction was started in 1539, was built on the ridge with a gradient of 45 degrees, and it was made of gravel and yellow earth by tamping. The wall was originally 1.5 kilometers(0.9 miles) long, but it is only 750 meters (0.5 miles) longnow;itwas renovated in 1987 with threetowers, two at the ends of the wall and one in the middle.

Highlights of the Suspended Great Wall

Themed on the Ancient Silk Road Culture and the Great Wall Culture, the Suspended Great Wall Scenic Area is divided into four areas: the Ancient Silk Road Culture Corridor Area, the Suspended Great Wall Military Defense System Area, the Recreation and Holiday Area and the Administrative Area, and the highlighted attractions include the Suspended Great Wall, the Ancient Silk Road Sculpture Group and the Ancient Weaponry Exhibition.

Ancient Silk Road Culture Corridor dominates the scenic area, where you can appreciate many artistic sculpture groups, including the sculptures of Zhang Qian(164 BC-114 BC), General Huo Qubing(140 BC-117 BC), General Ban Chao(32-102), Monk Xuan Zang(602-664), Marco Polo(1254-1324), Lin Zexun (1785-1850)and General Zuo Zongtang(1812-1885). The Suspended Great Wall Military Defense System Area highlights the Suspended Great Wall, the Water Gate and the Ancient Weaponry Exhibition. The Recreation and Holiday Area includes a green belt north of the Great Wall and a square at the entrance of the scenic area where visitors can hold a barbecue party, play cards, drink tea and even purchase tourist souvenirs. The adequate and systematic tourist service is provided in the Administrative Area, including parking lots, a square and toilets.

For the convenience of climbing, steps were built on the wall. Despite these, it is still hard for visitors to make it to the top ofthe 400 steps,but it is worth the painstaking efforts when visitors look afar fromthe top. The scenery is peculiarthe desert extends to the horizon with a few oases onit. People feel the isolation and detachment from the noisy cities at first;they also feel the liveliness when they see the oases. Under such harsh natural conditions, people struggle to live from one generation toanother.

Location:north of Black Mountain, Shiguanxia, 14 kilometers (9 miles) north-west of Jiayuguan City, Gansu Province

Transportation: a direct sightseeing bus will take you there from Jiayuguan Bus Station

Opening times:8:30 am to 8:00 pm in summer and autumn;

8:30 am to 6:00 pm in winter and spring