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Where is the start point of the Great Wall?

When stepping on the Great Wall of China, we will feel we are so small on it, and it seems endless. So you may ask “Where is the start point of the Great Wall?” Yes, the endless Great Wall does have a start point that can be found at Jiayuguan Pass in Gansu Province which is located in the southwest of China.
 
Jiayuguan, which means the “excellent valley pass” is the starting pass on the western end of the Great Wall. It is located at the narrowest point of the Hexi Corridor’s western section, which is 6km southwest of Jiayuguan City of Gansu Province.

Legend of the Jiayuguan Pass

The Great Wall construction started in 1372 during the Ming Dynasty, but the Jiayuguan Pass would not be accomplished 168 years later. There are many legends about the construction of the Pass. One legend goes that when this part of Great wall was being planned, the officer in charge asked the designer to estimate how many bricks required and tell him. The officer thought the number might be not enough, so the designer added one. When the pass was finally completed, according to the legend, there was one extra brick. And this extra brick is the one places loose on one gate where you could still find today.

Jiayuguan Pass-- Frist and Greatest Pass under Heaven

The pass is a trapezoidal city wall 11 meters high and 733m around, covering an area over 33,500 square meters. There are 3 defensive lines: the inner city, the outer city and a moat. It is the most complete existing ancient military architecture among all of the passes of the Great Wall, which is also famous as the “First and Greatest Pass under Heaven
 
In addition of the most amazing defensive system used for prevent invaders at the border in ancient dynasties, the Pass is also an indispensable station on the way of the ancient silk road. The pass was the starting place for exile for the prisoners or ex-officials. 

Tower of Great Wall in Jiayuguan Pass Section



The exact spot of the begins of the Great Wall was the first beacon tower which is an earthen mound now, built in 1539. Originally, the tower was 14 meters high, wide and long. Hundreds years later, it has reduce to this mound after erosion and weathering. There were 39 beacon towers around and inside Jiayuguan Pass. These towers were important for militaries at that time. Once the enemy troops came and approached, soldiers on the tower would see and transfer signals by the light or smoke of fire, waving flags to other towers as sort of alarm system.
 
Nowdays, the local government of Jiayuguan City has been working to boost the tours of this starting pass of the Great Wall of China. Recently even launching a TV competition aims to draw dozens of stations’ attention of the ancient pass. Now, more and more people can come and see the site.
 
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