Introducing the Great Wall at Jinshanling
Dating back to the Northern Qi Dynasty (550-577), the wall, fortresses and passes were constructed in this area. When the Ming Dynasty was established in 1368, General Xu Da was dispatched to rebuild the wall between the Shanhaiguan Pass in the east and Juyongguan Pass in the west. Again in 1567, General Tan Lun and Qi Jiguang were appointed to guard the northern frontier of the capital in this area. Qijiguang spent 16 years to repair and reconstruct the wall of a total length more than 1,200 kilometers in the northern frontier.
Jinshanling Great Wall has two unique features: high density of watchtowers and Barrier Wall. The Wall is about 10.5 kilometers long with 67 watchtowers, 2 beacon towers and 5 main passes. The general interval of the watchtowers on the wall is about 100 meters, but in some places with more complex terrain, the interval is only 50 to 60 meters. Such density of the watchtowers is rarely seen on the entire length of the Great Wall. The Barrier Wall was built on the top inside the Great Wall, vertical and parallel to the battlements. It is 2.5 meters high with peep holes and arrow holes in it. It served as the second barrier when the enemy succeeded climbing up the Great Wall.
The Great Wall at the Jinshanling is about 7 meters high, 6 meters wide, and built of rectangular slabs of stone. The brick-paved walkway along the top of the wall is 4 meters wide and the crenellated openings 2 meters wide. There are small holes in the merlons for watching and shooting arrows. There are also special openings between the crenels to insert flags for display or signal transmission. The elevation in Jinshanling is about 700 meters above sea level. Based on huge stone bars, the Great Wall was then made by huge bricks, each of which weighed about 12 kilograms. Featuring various structures and having various functions, the watchtowers in Jinshanling are either one-story or two-story. On the first floor there are some windows for shooting arrows. The roofs of the towers are many and varied, flat, arched, quadrangular or octagonal. Some are used to store weapons and hay. Others are used as soldiers’ bedrooms. Among them, the most famous two are the Big and Small Jinshan Watchtowers.