Niangzi Pass, also called the Ladies' Pass, is one of the major passages where Shanxi Province and Hebei Province meet. It is a mountain pass of strategic importance which is famed as "the Ninth Pass on the Great Wall". The extant pass was built in 1542 during the Ming Dynasty (AD 1368-1644).
Quick Facts About Niangzi Pass
- Chinese Name: 娘子关 Niángzǐguān /nyang-dzrr gwan/
- Location: 45 km (28 mi) northeast of Pingding County, Yangquan, Shanxi Province
- History: over 2,000 years
- Ticket Price: 56 yuan
- Opening Hours: 8am to 5pm
- Activities: hiking, climbing mountains, and photography
- Origin of the Name
Niangzi Pass is on Mianshan Mountain. It is a famous fort on the Great Wall that was once called "Weize Pass".
Legend goes that during the Tang Dynasty (618–907 AD), the army under the command of Princess Pingyang, daughter of Li Yuan, the first emperor of the Tang Dynasty, once garrisoned there. Hence the name is "Niangzi Pass", or "Ladies Pass".
As one of the passes constructed during the Warring States Period (475-221 BC), Niangzi Pass was reconstructed in 1542 during the Ming Dynasty and particularly guarded due to the Ming emperors' constant wars with their neighbors; hence it has become what it is today.
It was famed as "the Ninth Pass on the Great Wall" because it is to the south of "the three passes within the Great Wall" .
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The fort consists of an upper pass and a lower pass: the upper pass is in the east where a horizontal tablet hangs that is carved with "Niangzi Pass"; whereas the lower pass is in the west where stands a horizontal tablet, inside carved with "the place where the army of Princess Pingyang was garrisoned". The lower pass was reconstructed in the Ming Dynasty.
Generally speaking, the East Gate is made from brick with a horizontal tablet carved with "Niangzi Pass" and there are battlements on it; the South Gate is made from limestone, and there stands a building named "Sujiang Lou" where two famous couplets were carved on both pillars.
In the front gate of the pass there is only one slope lying at an angle of 45 degrees that you can pass through.
Niangzi Pass Waterfall
Niangzi Pass Waterfall, also called Feiquan Spring, is about 300 meters from the East Gate of Niangzi Pass castle, hence the name Niangzi Pass Waterfall. It is 6.5 meters wide and has a drop of 40 meters."Water Curtain Cave" Waterfall
'Water Curtain Cave" Waterfall is located 500 meters southeast from the East Gate of Niangzi Pass castle. What the local people call "Haiyan (the eye of the sea) Spring" is the biggest spring of all.
The waterfall has a drop of over 30 meters and is 10 meters wide. When the "Haiyan Spring" drops, there are foaming waves and thundering sounds. The spring water spews from the ground then drops from the nearby cliff of the "Haiyan Spring" into a river called Tao River, hence forming the "Water Curtain Cave" Waterfall.
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Best Time to Go
You can travel to Niangzi Pass during the spring, summer, and autumn, but the best months to travel are May to November during which time there are no dramatic changes in weather making it quite suitable for travel. The mountains are not very steep in Niangzi Pass so you can climb them and have a leisurely time there.
How to Get to Niangzi Pass
There are railways to Niangzi Pass both in Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province and Taiyuan, Shanxi Province.
From Shijiazhuang: You can take trains 6031 and 6033 to Niangzi Pass from Shijiazhuang (leaving from Shijiazhuang North Railway Station), which will take approximately two hours.
From Taiyuan: You can take trains 6032 and 6034 from Taiyuan to Niangzi Pass, which will take approximately four hours; or you can take a minibus from Yangquan to Niangzi Pass, which will take approximately 1½ hours.
From Beijing: The distance from Beijing to Niangzi Pass is approximately 370 kilometers, so you can take train D2009 from Beijing West Railway Station to Shijiangzhuang North Railway Station and then take train 6033 to Niangzi Pass.
Accommodation and Restaurants
There is no suitable accommodation in Niangzi Pass, so it is advised that you should return to Yangquan the same day instead of staying there. The restaurants and food there are also quite simple, so it is recommended that you take your own food.
Guguan Section of the Great Wall: in Xinguan Village, Niangziguan Town, Pingding County, Shanxi Province, about 16 kilometers north of Niangzi Pass.
Pingding Guanshan Forest Park: in Chengguan Town, Pingding County, Shanxi Province, about 55 kilometers from Niangzi Pass.
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