Great Wall of China in Zhangjiakou and Zhangjiakou Prefecture :
This Page provides a menu of all Great Wall of China ruins and associated historical structures in Zhangjiakou Prefecture of  Hebei Province.
Altogether there are some thirteen sections of the Great Wall of China within Zhangjiakou Prefecture of Hebei Province. Reportedly the ruined remains of all various remaining sections of all era's taken together count more than 1,470 kilometers (913 miles) in length. The Walls and Defenses found in Zhangjiakou and surrounding towns were built through the reigning periods of eight dynasties, namely the Warring States Period (476 BC - 221 BC)(of the Zhou Dynasty, the first unification of China under the rule of Qin (221 BC - 206 BC), during the opening of the (later named) "Silk Road" into Central Asia in the Han Dynasty (206 BC- 220 AD), under the reign of a Foreign born Northern Wei Dynasty (Also: Tuoba Wei ; 386 AD - 534 AD), in the Northern Qi Dynasty (550 AD - 577 AD), in the Tang Era (618 AD - 907 AD), by the shortlived Jin (1115 AD - 1234 AD) and finally the after the ejection of the Mongolian overlords in the Ming (1368 AD - 1644 AD) Dynasty.

With all that said: to gain a better perspective and understanding of the Great Wall of China defenses arranged around Beijing and the crucial position of the Zhangjiakou fortifications within these, it is necessary to have a look at the map.
As can be learned from the adjacent map, in fact there are multiple multiple layers of the Great Wall of China arranged around the former Imperial Capital, and especially near Zhangjiakou, various sub-branches exist(ed). In addition, in the wider regions of north Shanxi Province, Hebei and Beijing City Province several renowned passes and gates of the Great Wall can be visited.

To start with the basic arrangements of the Great Wall of China around Beijing; the three layers that defended this sector can be easily identified. That is, the outermost layer (#1) is clearly marked on the map and can be followed running from the Fengzhen Pass north of Datong (Shanxi) in the west (left on map) to wind its way eastward past Dayingpan to curve around Zhangjiakou proper in a position well north of the city.
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First among the Great Wall of China sites in Zhangjiakou Prefecture is the Dajing Gate (Dajing Men) or Gate to the Great Territory. It was the northernmost gate of what was the pass city of Zhangjiakou during the Ming Dynasty (1368 AD - 1644 AD). Among all the Pass Cities and lesser Gates of the Great Wall, the Dajing door is considered to have an especially high status which it shares with only three other Pass Cities. Apart from Zhangjiakou and its front door the Da Jing Gate, the most important and crucial pass cities of the Great Wall were Shanhaiguan - considered the "First Gate under Heaven" at the Bohai Sea in the East, Juyonguan Great Wall - and the Badaling Pass - a double layer and double gate which formed the last protection of the Imperial Capital Beijing, and finally Jiayuguan City - the "end lock in connection", forming the final Pass and Jiayuguan Fortress of the Great Wall of China (of the Ming Era) in the far west of Gansu Province.

History of the Da Jing Gate:
In 1697 AD the Kangxi Emperor of the Qing Dynasty (Reign 1661 AD - 1722 AD), led an expedition from Beijing to the territories beyond the Great Wall of China in order to stamp out and supress a Mongolian insurrection and invasion. Upon their victorious return the army passed through Zhangjiakou and having returned to the "Inner Kingdom" the occasion was properly celebrated. The Emperor, inspired by the scenery and elated by his victory and success in restoring "peace and harmony" to the Empire ordered a local scholar to come up with a proper poetic line to be inscribed near the Gate. This text, supposedly composed by the local scholar Zhang Zizhong and saying "Both Sides of the (Great) Wall Have Been United" is still inscribed on a cliff near the gate.

In 1709 AD the Kangxi Emperor of the Qing Dynasty (Reign 1661 AD - 1722 AD) keeping an eye on territorial incursions by Russians arriving from the North, led an expedition through the area and camped his army at Kalgan (Kyoto in Manchu terms). As legend has it, the army arrived in
Zhangjiakou (Kalgan) Great Wall location coordinates: 40°50′36.99″ North 114°53′22.65″ East.

The Zhangjiakou Great Wall .. (Chinese: 平型关), is the " ...Pass". ..
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the dead of night, well after curfew and the closing of the Cities northern gate, the Da Jing Men. As legend has it, the guards refused to open the gate, and thus the whole party, army and Emperor, were forced to camp outside of the Gate under the stars. Later, the Emperor's subsequent forced camp-out was commemorated with the construction of the Reclining Dragon Pavilion (the Dragon symbolic for the Emperor) in the area outside the gate.

"President" Gao Weiyue, who was the local "Warlord" in Zhangjiakou in the year 1927 also left a written memory of his impressions and memories of Da Jing Gate. The words they used include a mention of the natural beauty of the border of the Mongolian plateau saying: "Beautiful rivers and mountains of a country". They also speak their admiration for the Caligraphy written by the Kangxi Emperor, complimenting his writing as "Four characters, vigorous and spectacular".
Apparently, in 1931, in the turmoil following the "nine one eight" incident, the patriotic general Ji Hongchang Rate Dajing wrote a poem lauding or at least describing the scenery of events at the Da Jing Gate.
" (I led) Led tens of thousands of The Anti-Japanese allied army. Swear off (an oath, (and) out of the North Dajing door, (to) the fight against the Japanese aggressors, recover lost territory".

As modern Communist Party Propaganda still claims: In 1945 August, the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and the Eight Route Army troops Zhangjiakou arrived at the Dajing door of Zhangjiakou and liberated the city and extending their offensive against the Japanese Agressors. It is counted as the liberation of the city,but obviously there was no offensive against the Japanese, as they had just capitulated. Eversince 1936 however, after the Long March, the Communist Troops had harrassed the Japanese all across neighboring Shanxi Province and in the Hopei-Chahar "Border Region" as it was named at the time. Although the Japanese are generally depicted as clumsy fighters by the Chinese victors, the death toll of the ongoing skirmishes was substantial.

The same national history lessons also tell of the victory of Communist Forces over the Kuomintang Nationalist Forces stationed at Zhangjiakou. After initially having been secured by Russian troops and then claimed by the Communist Chinese, after the Russian withdrawal into Mongolian territories the latter were kicked out of the city in June of 1946 by much better equipped and trained Kuomintang Armies with substantial U.S. backing. At the time, the communists without much Russian aid were in no position to retake the city. They waged a lenghty guerilla war campaign against the city staging ambushes for years until they had gained sufficent strength in North China to engage in full scale battle. In the end, the long awaited Communist attack came in December 1948. Today, the Chinese people's Liberation Army (P.L.A.) claims that it lost some 50 thousand men in the battle to take the Dajing door. The many casualties now considered (nameless) martyrs did win the second liberation of Zhangjiakou establishing as part of what would soon be the Peoples' Republic of China under the "Dictatorship of the Proletariat", however the naming of the countless number of casualties in connection with the Great Wall of China does inadvertently call upon the image of the ancient Empire of Qin, which buried the nameless victims claimed by the construction of its greatest achievement within the foundations of its surrounding wall, the first ever version of the Great Wall of China.
(See also: "History of Zhangjiakou (Kalgan)")

Latest Developments in Zhangjiakou regarding the Great Wall and relics:
Recently, as has been the case in neighboring Datong City to the west, the district government has embarked on a comprehensive repair and development of the Great Wall of China relics in the prefecture in order to develop tourism while also maintaining and funding the maintenaince and repair of sections of the Great Wall of China under its responsibility. In practice, the attention has first and foremost focussed on the Dajing door, which is rightly considered as the number one historic landmark of the city. In order to prevent future damage from the main road out of Zhangjiakou along the Qingshui River valley, the area of the Da Jing Gate is planned to be develloped as a tourist while diverting the road traffic away from the site where possible.

Architecture of the Da Jing Gate:
Upon first appearance, the construction of the Da Jing Gate, is impressive yet unremarkable, as it resembles many of the other Gates found along the length of the Great Wall of China of the Ming Dynasty. Its solid shape is made up of a wide brick stone base in the middle of which sits an arched passage. Above, upon the platform stands a multi-layered wooden Chinese Pavilion. However, the Da Jing Gate has unique features in that it has a double iron plated door which measures 12 meters high in height. Wider at the base, the width of the (double) door placed inside the gate opening measures 13 meters at the bottom. This makes it the highest Gate Door and the largest door found in all the passes and passes of the Great Wall.
The top platform of the Da Jing Gate is 12 meters long, and 7.5 meters wide and protected by crenels on the outside and parapets on the inside. The crenels which should offer protection from enemy arrows and projectiles are 1.7 meters high, whereas the parapet along the friendly inner side of the platform are but 0.8 meters high (which is a pattern found along the Great Wall of China itself as well - See: "Structures of the Great Wall of China").
In the immediate vicinity of the Dajing Men where the terrain is low and where earlier attacks has been frequent, watchtowers are interspersed at intervals of only 200-300 meters. In addition beacon towers serving as communications system can be seen descending in lines from the mountains the the east and west.

As usual, there are tales and legends to the Da Jing Gate. In its case, the legend says that at one time during his reign in 1709 AD (supposedly keeping watch over the contested borderlands where the Russians had arrived), the Kangxi Emperor of the Qing Dynasty (Reign 1661 AD - 1722 AD) led an expedition through the area and camped his army at Kalgan (Kyoto in Manchu terms). At night, the Emperor is said to have enjoyed sleeping outside, free and under the stars and during his stay outside the Da Jing Gate he was inspired by the beautiful environment of the area and the sight of the mighty gate of the (now) Manchu Empire. So moved, the Emperor is supposed to have delivered a eulogy and inscribed the Caligraphy on the front of the Gate himself. Subsequently, after the words were written on the Gate it was promoted further in rank and the so called Wolong Pavilion which stands atop its Platform was constructed.

How to Get There:
The Dajing Gate of the Great Wall of China can be found just a short distance travel due north of the urban sprawl of Qiaoxi District (Zhangjiakou City) along S242 Provincial Road and the eastward curve of the Qingshui River. The Dajing Gate was built inside the Dashuigou which is also the Qingshui River Valley. Altogether this site is not situated very far from the center of Zhangjiakou. Although this does not mean that one can easily walk there,  one can easily take a taxi and arrive at this famous gate in 5 to 10 minutes time.

Admission Fee: RMB10
Opening Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.  ; Taxi fee from center to Da Jing Gate, around RMB8 to 10.
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Jinan, Capital Shandong Province, Jin'An Prefecture, Shandong Province, China (P.R.C.).
Chengde (Hebei) - Imperial Summer Mountain Retreat, Hebei Province, China (P.R.C.).
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Tangshan, Tangshan Prefecture, Hebei Province, China (P.R.C.).
ShiJiaZhuang, Capital of Hebei Province, China (P.R.C.).
Great Wall of China - East Terminus (Inner Layer) - Qinhuangdao/Shanhai Pass
QinHuangDao, Qinhuangdao Prefecture, Hebei Province, China (P.R.C.).
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Tanggu, Tianjin Municipality, China (P.R.C.).
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Gaomi (Shandong Province)
Laizhou, --- Prefecture, Shandong Province, China (P.R.C.).
Taiqian (Henan Province)
Shenxian (Shandong Province)
ZhangJiaKou - Kalgan (Hebei Province)
The second, middle, layer of the Great Wall of China then ran from west to east straight through Zhangjiakou and was formed by the Pass City of Zhangjiakou and additional fortifications inside adjoining passes leading to the flanks and the rear of the geographical "node" formed by the landscape at Zhangjiakou.
A last and third layer of the Great Wall of China arranged around Beijing is found due south east of Zhangjiakou along the main road leading to the Capital. Interestingly, this third and final layer is actually itself a double layer, which runs through the Badaling Pass and the Nankou Pass and has the Juyong Guan garrison fortress positioned in between.

First Layer: The first and outer layer of the Great Wall of China in the region has the most simple of forms. It was a single line continuous brick wall with watchtowers, positioned along the first mountain ridges leading down from the Mongolian Plateaux. By its presence it has later roughly dictated the borders between what is today considered "Inner Mongolia" and the Chinese territory of Hebei Province. It can be followed easily from Fengzhen Pass in Inner Mongolia due north of the Pass City of Datong, from there winding eastward past xx and xx to connect to Shanfangbu (near Wanquan) where it is most easily visited. Beyond Shanfangbu, this layer of the Great Wall leads further eastward to eventually connect with the Dushikou Great Wall of China in Chicheng County of Zhangjiakou Prefecture.
2nd Layer and Zhangjiakou: As for this layer, in order to completely understand the vulnerable position of the Zhangjiakou Fortress is important to take into account the local geographic arragements. In the case of Zhangjiakou: several passes come together at its location. The main passes from Mongolia lead down from the north west and via the Qingshui river from the north and north east. Other minor passes
lead to the city from the east and west, whereas to the south the mountains open up into the wide Yang River valley which gives easy acces to Zhangjiakou from the south-west.
Therefor, the main line of the second layer of the Great Wall of China between Mongolia and the north China Plain runs along the north edge of Zhangjiakou city and extends further eastward for quite length. In addition however, realizing that in history attacking armies had many times broken through parts of the Great Wall subsequently outflanking other fixed positions, as a cure for this vulnerability additional fortifications were built around Zhangjiakou,  guarding and defending the passes leading to the side and rear of the City. The most important of these side passes is formed by the wide Yang River valley, which flows past at some distance to the south of Zhangjiakou. As is explained below, the town of Huai'An to the south west and the town of Xuanhua to the south east were also well entrenched and defended.

Third Layer: Badaling and Nankou Pass.
The final third layer of the Great Wall defending Beijing is found due south east of Zhangjiakou beyond




Beijing Regional Map : Datong-Beijing-ShiJiaZhuang-TaiYuan quadrangle, an overview of Beijing Municipality (in Hebei Province) and the Area to the West and South-West of Beijing. Includes Datong, Shanxi Province and nearby Pass to Inner Mongolia (Great Wall of China), BaoDing ShiJiaZhuang and TaiYuan Crossroads-cities. Wutai-Shan and Yuntong-Shan Mountain Ranges.
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Datong, Datong Prefecture, Shanxi Province, China (P.R.C.).
Shijiazhuang, Shijiazhuang Prefecture, Hebei Province, China (P.R.C.).
Baoding, Baoding Prefecture, Hebei Province, China (P.R.C.).
Taiyuan, Taiyuan Prefecture, Shanxi Province, China (P.R.C.).
Beijing, Beijing City Prefecture, China (P.R.C.).
what today is the artificial Guanting Lake. Situated in Beijing City Province this layer is based upon a last ridge of steep mountains and the crucial and narrow pass of Badaling. To the south beyond the Badaling Pass the landscape slowly resides into the North China Plain upon which the city of Beijing was built. At this point, another layer of the Great Wall of China extends from west to east. In addition to the defenses and gate of the Badaling Pass, a garrison fortress was built at a short distance to the south at Juyong Guan. As a last resort, another minor pass, the Nankou Pass was further fortified creating a double layered wall, fused with and working in conjunction with the main pass of Badaling. Beyond the Nankou Pass the only defenses were the heavy city walls of the Capital Beijing itself.
The third layer of the Great Wall can be followed from the Wu Tai Mountains (Wu Tai Shan) in the west, from where it passes south of Laiyuan and west of Shangzhuang. Eventually it connects through Hedong Township to the Nankou Pass as well as to the Badaling Pass.
Read More in: "Great Wall of China in Beijing City Province", "Badaling Pass of the Great Wall of China", and see also "Maps of the Great Wall of China in Hebei Province".
As may be deduced from the above description, there are plenty of Great Wall of China relics and remains to be found within the realm of Zhangjiakou Prefecture today, however altogether they are spread across a very large and mountainous region. Certainly, not all Great Wall of China remains may be identified easily, or traveled to with ease. As such, for the convenience of the traveling reader the below listing describes the various sites found from the viewpoint of anyone able to get to the city of Zhangjiakou and taking a Hotel room there. For the average traveler this is the usual way to explore the landmarks of city and territories beyond. The usual tourist itenerary will include a visit to the Da Jing Gate, the main tourist showpiece of the city of Zhangjiakou. Beyond that one can have a search for and browse of the remains of heavy Ming Dynasty Era city walls of the old city of Zhangjiakou. For more one has to travel about and put in some effort in order to visit the various main landmarks. There are even more Great Wall remains strewn about the prefecture but most ordinary tourist will not know of them or otherwise be unable to travel to their remote locations.
Schematic Map of ALL Great Wall sites around Beijing and Tianjin City !
Map - Schematic - Hebei-Beijing-Tianjin Great Wall Locations
A Schematic Map overview of Great Wall locations and sections in Shanxi Province, Hebei Province, Beijing City Province, Tianjin City Province and parts of Liaoning Province. This Schematic Map focusses on the seperate visitable Great Wall of China locations and sections within the depicted regions, and includes as the Main Monuments and Scenic Sites in their vicinity as well. Find the locations of the Great Wall of China in northern Shanxi, the famous fortified "Heaven's Gate" (Kalgan) Fortress in northern Hebei Province, the "First Gate under Heaven in the East and the Terminus of the Inner Layer in the East (Laolongtou) and several often overlooked sites in Liaoning Province.