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The Xifengkou Section of the Great Wall

Written by Chris QuanUpdated Nov. 20, 2023

Located over 50 kilometers northwest of the center of Qianxi County, Hebei Province, Xifeng Pass is an important part of the Great Wall. The Xifengkou section of the Great Wall is situated within the Panjiakou Reservoir.

It has been well-preserved throughout history without the need for restoration which is why it is so well-known. The main body of this section has been submerged but the underwater wall can still be faintly seen, which is a unique way to view the Great Wall.

Quick Facts About the Great Wall at Xifengkou

  • Chinese Name: 喜峰口 Xǐfēngkǒu /sshee-fung-koh/
  • Location: over 50 kilometers northwest of the center of Qianxi County, Hebei Province
  • History: more than 500 years
  • Opening Hours: 8am to 6pm
  • Activities: boating, hiking, and photography

History of Xifeng Pass

Xifeng Pass was one of the important passes during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Nowadays, it is still the major crossroad in the Tangshan region. It has been called Xifengkou since the reign of the Yongle Emperor in the Ming Dynasty, having been built during the Jingtai Emperor's reign in July 1452. At that time, walls were built to connect to the Great Wall. It is very spectacular with lots of forts and towers situated on the wall.

Xifeng Pass was called Songting Pass in the Song and Liao dynasties. It was rebuilt in the Yongle Emperor's reign during the Ming Dynasty and was renamed Xifeng Pass. It was one of the important passes of the Great Wall because its location was easy to hold but hard to attack.

Therefore, it has also had strategic military value throughout history. The Xifengkou Battle during the anti-Japanese war is the most well-known battle in modern China.

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In the Tangshan region, the whole length the Great Wall including Xifengkou Section is 222 kilometers with 29 passes. Its castles and beacon towers are distributed in dangerous places; its villages and water gaps are designed according to different terrains. Surviving across several hundred years, it has retained its original appearance, which panoramically presents the essence of the Ming Great Wall.

The Underwater Section of the Great Wall

The Xifengkou section of the Great Wall is located in the Panjiakou Reservoir. Its main body has been submerged; only a little part of the broken wall is exposed above the water. The 10-year Yin Luan Ru Jin Project (leading the water from the Luan River to Tianjin City) crosses the Great Wall transversely.

The water comes between the two passes so that the underwater section of the Great Wall forms and becomes a unique viewing point.


The structure of Xifeng Pass is very special. There are three levels and each has a gate. The three gates are connected as a whole by the solid brick wall. On the wall there are six contact points, each with a hollow watchtower. The western wall is linked to the main body of the Great Wall.

For military reasons, Xifeng Pass is divided into two parts: the pass and the castle. The castle, in a basin surrounded by mountains, is built from slabs of stones, so it is very solid. Its wall is about seven meters tall. There is a 13-meter-tall Zhenyuan building at the gates of the pass. The pass is to the north of the castle. It consists of three parts that are in the shape of 日, a Chinese character.

In ancient times, everything had to pass across the western wall regardless of whether they were carriages, horses or pedestrians, and had to go through the three gates to enter the pass. That confirms how strict and solid it was.

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How to Get There

There is no direct public transportation to the Xifengkou section of the Great Wall, which is not convenient for independent travelers. You can, however, take a tour. China Highlights' tours avoid the hassles of getting to and enjoying the Great Wall. See our most popular Great Wall tours.

Accommodation and Restaurants

There are restaurants and hostels at the foot of the Xifengkou section of the Great Wall, but they are very small with very simple facilities.

Visit the Xifengkou Section of the Great Wall with China Highlights

China Highlights can help you avoid any hassles associated with the trip. If you want to visit the Xifengkou section of the Great Wall, contact us and we can help you design a tour according to your requirements.

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