Where Does The Great Wall Of China End?

Jiayu Pass

The Great Wall of China is one of the most impressive structures on the face of the earth. It is so large that it can be seen from space.

The Great Wall ends at what is known as the Jianyu Pass; this Jianyu Pass is the westernmost part of the Great Wall and also was known as the “First and Greatest Pass Under Heaven.” Some called it is the gates at the Jianyu Pass, the Gate of Travelers, and the Gate of Sighs.

Overhanging Great Wall in Jiayuguan, China. The west end of the Great Wall of China in Autumn. The Great Wall appears very like a dragon overhanging the slope.

Jiayu Pass – The End Of The Great Wall

The Great Wall of China ends at the JIayu Pass in Gansu Province, China. The end of the Great Wall is sometimes called Jaiyu Pass or Jiayuguan. The Jiayu pass is the westernmost part of the Great Wall.

The end of the Great Wall is located 6 kilometers or 3.7 miles southwest of Jiayuguan, China. The pass lies between two hills; one of the hills dominates the Jiayu Pass.

The pass is built near a fortress in the very western part of China. It is called the “First and Greatest Pass Under Heaven.”

The Chinese call themselves Tian Xie, which means “Under Heaven.” Under Heaven is a historical Chinese cultural concept representing the lands, space, and area of sovereign China. This gate is called the First and Greatest Pass Under Heaven, as it is the entrance into China from the Western Frontier.

The Jiayu Pass was constructed during the Ming Dynasty; the pass was built in 1372, early in the Ming Dynasty.

The Ming Dynasty built this pass sooner than other parts of the great wall because they feared Timur, a Turco-Mongol Empire; they thought they would invade China. Today the Timur Empire is part of Central Asia, including Afghanistan and Iran.

The Jaiyu pass is considered one of the important military fortresses along the Great Wall. This pass was utterly impregnable; no one could get in that the Chinese did not want to allow in.

Gate of Travelers

The JIanyu pass also has the Gate of Travelers, one of the entrances where many of the traders for the famous Silk Road would enter China. The Silk Road was an important trade route between the west and east.

The gate of travelers was an essential connecting point between China and the rest of the world.

Many traders and travelers would have passed through the Great Wall gate on their way or leaving China.

Gate of Sighs

The gate at the Jiayu pass is also known as the gate of sighs or, to some, the Gate of Demons; this is the gate where those disgraced, exiled, or undesirables are forced out of the Middle Kingdom or China.

The long archway leading out of the Jiayu Pass is the last point before someone is forced out of China and left to die in the desert wasteland.

Etched in the wall of the Gate of Sighs are countless writings that were penned by what must have been disparate exiles, dishonored officials, and criminals who knew their likely demise in the desert wasteland. Being forced out of the Gate of Sighs would have been a death sentence for most people.

Mildred Cable, a British Protestant Christian Missionary, spent a lot of time traveling through this part of China. She was part of the China Inland Mission.

Mildred Cable wrote some memoirs about her time in China; she went to this part of the Great Wall in 1923, and she wrote this about her experience:

“known to men of a former generation as Kweimenkwan (Gate of the Demons)….The most important door was on the farther side of the fortress, and it might be called Traveller’s Gate, though some spoke of it as the Gate of Sighs. It was a deep archway tunnelled in the thickness of the wall…. Every traveller toward the north-west passed through this gate, and it opened out on that great and always mysterious waste called the Desert of Gobi. The long archway was covered with writings…the work of men of scholarship, who had fallen on an hour of deep distress. Who were then the writers of this Anthology of Grief? Some were heavy-hearted exiles, others were disgraced officials, and some were criminals no longer tolerated within China’s borders. Torn from all they loved on earth and banished with dishonoured name to the dreary regions outside.”

Mildred Cable

Mildred Cable talked about how this was the end of the road for those Chinese people who were banished or no longer welcomed and were cast out of China forever.

Legend of the Jiayu Pass

The Great Wall, including this pass, was constructed during the Chinese Ming Dynasty. The legend had it when the Jiayu Pass was in the planning stages for the construction, the official in charge of the construction named Feng Sheng, asked the designer how many bricks they would need to use to construct the pass.

Unlike other parts of the Great Wall made from grey bricks, this wall section is made from soil produced by tamped layers; this gives the bricks a yellow hue; instead of the grey hue, most of the wall is constructed with.

The designer told the officials he would need to use 99.999 brick. The official questioned the designer’s judgment and thought It would not be enough bricks. So the designer recalculated the bricks and gave a new number of 100,000 bricks or one more brick than he previously told the official.

The construction of the pass took 160 years, so the designer never lived to see the pass completed.

Legend had it when the Jiayu pass was completed, there is one leftover brick, and that brick is placed loosely on one of the entrances of the Jaayu Pass. The one loose brick remains there today as a symbol of this legend.

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Anita L Hummel

Hi, I live in Hanoi, Vietnam but spend time traveling the region. I love to share with you things I see and learn through my travels.

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Where Does The Great Wall Of China End?