Top 10 China tours 2024/2025 for first visits and returns: embark on a lifetime experience. Learn more

The 'Great Wall' of the State of Yan

Written by Chris QuanUpdated Dec. 8, 2020

The easternmost length of the first Great Wall of China was built by the ancient Yan State, whose territory contained today's Beijing and Tianjin, and parts of Hebei and Liaoning Provinces.

Starting from Zhangjiakou it ran west to Liaoyang City in Liaoning. It was the last Great Wall section built in the Warring States Period.

There are ruins of the Yan Great Wall in Liaoning Province, and near Badaling, Beijing.

The Yan State Great Wall Map

About the Warring State of Yan

The Yan State was the northeastern-most vassal state since the beginning of the Zhou Dynasty (1046–221 BC). Its capital was Ji, today's Beijing, and it controlled today's northern Hebei and western Liaoning provinces.

By the Warring States Period (475 BC) it had become one of the strongest seven states, but was conquered by the state of Qin in 222 BC.

When and Why the Yan "Great Wall" Was Built

The Yan State "Great Wall" was built late in the reign of King Jiping (Yan Zhaowang 燕昭王, 312–279 BC). Yan, the northeast warring state, was a strong state. However, it was always harassed by the northern nomadic Mongol and Manchu people, not to mention the neighboring Qi and Zhao states.

The Yan State built their "Great Wall" to protect themselves from northern attacks from the Manchu, Mongols, and Zhao State.

The Yan State Wall became part of the united Qin Dynasty Great Wall, under the orders of First Emperor Qin in 221 BC, and have been part of the Great Wall of China in various dynasties until the end of the Ming Dynasty (1644).

Recommended Tours:

Existing Ruins

The Yan State "Great Wall" ruins have not been developed for tourism, they aren't much to see, and are not popular with tourists, so we don't recommend visiting them.

The Yan Great Wall Ruins in Jianping County, Liaoning

badalingThe Badaling Great Wall Section.

The ruins of the Yan Great Wall in Jianping County (建平县), Chaoyang Prefecture, are its best existing section.

It was built across high mountains and valleys, with local stone and rammed earth. Its remains have a width of 2.5 meters or so and a height of 0.3–0.4 meters. The tower and fort relics can be seen more clearly.

The Yan Great Wall Ruins Near Beijing

Some ruins of the Yan Great Wall were found in Changping District (昌平区) northeast of Beijing, close to the Great Wall at Badaling, in a north-south section of about 30 km, including some in Zhangjiakou Prefecture, Hebei Province.

Most of the Yan relics were built over with the Ming Dynasty Great Wall. You could reach them by hiking south from Badaling, though access has been prohibited with a fence and sign on the Great Wall [since 2004].

There is public access at an almost unheard of tourist spot called 'Stone Gorge Pass Great Wall' (石峡关长城 Shixiaguan Changcheng), about 8 km (5 mi) south of Badaling.

Recommended Tours:

Learn More about Great Wall History

Start planning your tailor-made tour with 1-1 help from our travel advisors. Create Your Trip

Sign up to Our Newsletter

Be the first to receive exciting updates, exclusive promotions, and valuable travel tips from our team of experts.

Click to Sign up

Why China Highlights

Customize Your Tour

Customize Your Tour

  • Travel Advisors Rooted in China
  • Instant Response, No More Waits!
  • Direct Connections, Supreme Values
Maximize Your Flexibility

Maximize Your Flexibility

  • Your own personal guide and ride.
  • Explore at your own pace.
  • Unparalleled flexibility, impossible on a group tour.
Ensure Your Satisfaction

Ensure Your Satisfaction

  • The Top 20% nationwide guides at your service.
  • 20% more space on your group's transportation.
  • 24/7 emergency support.
Live Your China Story

Live Your China Story

  • Authentic local culture and lifestyles.
  • Understand the culture by living it.
  • Uncover fascinating histories and witness New China.
Rated 5 out of 5 | 98.8% Excellence
China Highlights International
Travel Service Co., LTD
Featured on
China Highlights was featured on these medias.

Address: Building 6, Chuangyi Business Park, 70 Qilidian Road, Guilin, Guangxi, 541004, China