Great Wall at JinshanlingA ~ Z

Introducing the Great Wall at Jinshanling

The Great Wall at Jinshanling is about 155 kilometers away from downtown Beijing and stretches from Miyun County of Beijing to Luanping County of Hebei Province. It is the best preserved part of the Great Wall in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) with many original features. Jinshanling connects to the Great Wall at Simatai in the east and Great Wall at Gubeikou in the west. The name of Jinshanling comes from two watchtowers, Great Jinshan Tower and Small Jinshan Tower on the Great Wall in this region. It was said that 3,000 soldiers from Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, under the command of famous Ming General Qijiguang (1528-1587), built two watchtowers and named them after the Great Jinshan Island and Small Jinshan Island in their hometown to show their sentimental feelings.


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.

Featured Spots

Famous Watchtowers

The Big Jinshan Watchtower has two stories which are connected by stone stairs. On the top of the tower there is a small room used as the soldiers’ retiring room. This small room has a unique structure. The rafters and eaves of the room are all made from polished bricks. The Small Jinshan Watchtower was constructed by soldiers from Zhejiang and Jiangsu Provinces led by Qi Jiguang. The General Tower, the Black Tower and the Taochun Tower are also must-sees on the Jinshanling Great Wall. Each tower has its legend. The general tower was named to commemorate Wu Guihua, a heroine who sacrificed herself to resist northern invader’s invasion in the Ming Dynasty. The Black Tower and the Taochun Tower were dedicated to commemorate two girls, Heigu and Taochun, who made great contributions to the construction of the Great Wall.

Bricks with Chinese Characters

There is a special section of the Great Wall at Jinshanling, where the 500 meters wall was made of tens of thousands bricks with Chinese characters engraved on them. Most of them were baked in 1578, the 6th year of Ming Emperor Wanli’s reign. They tell when were the bricks made and which troop was in charge of making them. There is no other section of the Great Wall in China with so many bricks engraved with Chinese characters. It means that there had been a large number of troops stationed here, because the nearby section of the Great Wall at Gubeikou has been breached by Mongols many times.

Kylin Screen

The Kylin Screen is located on the top of Xiaohuding Tower, 6 watchtowers away to the east of the General Tower. It is the only Kylin Screen survives intact on the entire Ming Great Wall. The Kylin Screen is made of 15 square bricks with a height of 2 meters and width of 2.5 meters. According to historical investigation, the Kylin Screen on this section of the wall was built in 1578 which represents the exquisite craftsmanship at that time.

Additional Information

Qi Jiguang

Qi Jiguang (1528-1588) was a Chinese military general and national hero during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). He was born in Shandong province, and his father Qi Jingtong was a water transport official. Qi Jiguang was best remembered for and most credited with his courage and leadership in the fight against the Japanese pirates along the southeast coast of China in over 80 wars for more than ten years, as well as his reinforcement work on the Great Wall of China to guard the borders for peace. The existing Ming Great Wall in Shanhaiguan and Simatai was built under his guidance. Qi Jiguang trained Army of Qijia Family; famous for its strict discipline, being honest to reward and punishment, and equipped with refined warship and weaponry. He also founded Mandarin Duck Array, in which a team with the number of 11 people is equipped with short and long weaponry, such as shields, spears, long spears and broadswords and so on. They can change team formation in accordance with the enemies and the terrain so as to achieve flexible combats. Not only as brilliant general, Qi Jiguang also left behind invaluable practical experience in two books on military strategy "Ji Xiao Xin Shu" (New Book of Efficiency) and "Lian Bing Shi Ji" (Record of Military Training).

Opening Hours

08:00 - 17:00


¥ 65 (Mar.16th- Nov.15th)

¥ 55 (Nov.16th - Mar.15th)


Hualougou village, Bakeshiying town, Luanping County, Chengde City, Hebei Province



155 KM

Getting There

It’s better to book a private car for round trip, Taxi drivers normally don’t go there

Travel Tips

There are a group of local farmers waiting for tourists at the Wall. They make a living by selling over-priced souvenirs to tourists, sometimes by offering unsolicited help on the wall. If you are allergic to it, better to say NO firmly at the very beginning, otherwise they can be very persistent and follow you all the way.

Last Updated

2018-05-04 23:39:19

© 2015 WikiBeijing. All rights reserved. No part of this site may be reproduced without our written permission.