Golden Hill Pass - Jinshanling (1) Introduction & Directions
This page was last updated: May 15, 2017
Great Wall of China in Beijing Province
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along a length of 11 kilometers (six miles). At intervals of 100 Meters (328 feet) - sometimes less, only 50 or 60 meters, there are watch- towers each of which is about ten meters (33 feet) high. Each of the watchtowers is truly unique because each tower has a different architecture. The sequence starts off with the Wangjinglou Tower in the east and ends at Longyukou in the west.
The Jinshanling Great Wall is 5 to 8 meters high, 6 meters across the base and 5 meters at the top. The walkway along the top is paved with square bricks providing a level surface wide enough to construct or erect batteries.
Today this level suface offers the same great sights and the smooth pathways of the Jinshanling stretch are especially popular among hikers. Local tour operators regularly offer hiking trips along the 10 to 11 kilometer long wall. It is also possible to walk from the West along the Jinshanling Section to Simatai. One can even Camp overnight in the Area !
Not all the going on the Wall at Jinshanling is easy going though. Not only is the Wall narrower than for instance at Badaling, atop the Wall are a multitude of 2 meter high DuoKou, Crenels creating small booths from which to attack enemies that already scaled to the top platform of the Wall. Atop is a firing Hole. In the middle of these thinner section walls is a hole, providing opportunity to fire arrow bolts at the enemy.
The Wangjinglou Watchtower -from which it is said that one can catch sight of Beijing's light at dawn in autumn- is considered to have the most spectacular sight of the entire Great Wall in China. Its length winding its
Jinshanling is the most famous all Great Wall of China sections and its lenghts have featured in many advertizement campaigns, films and magazine articles. Unrivalled by any other part in Hebei Province and Beijing its Great Wall of China has 67 watchtowers crossing five passes
way at an average 980 meters above Sea Level from the Eastern to the Western Horizon has become representative of the Ming Dynasty Great Wall in many advertisements, films and photos.
The Jinshanling Section connects to the East with Simatai
Aware of the easy path of attack available through the easy hills in area, the builders constructed a extra strong defenses including, double walls at strategic points, forts and watchtowers, criss-crossing firing ranges, and a beacon tower alarm system at Jinshangling. Its military fortifications of square, round, oval, and L-shaped buttresses, and embrasured watchtowers which are unique and only found at Jinshanling.
According to sources, the unique Wall section was first founded or based on huge stone slabs. After these were in place, havey iron bars were set to form a skeleton. Then huge bricks, each of which weighed about 12 kilograms (26 pounds) were used to construct both the Wall and the Watchtowers.
The Jinshanling Great Wall is situated on the Big and Small Jinshanling, hence its name. Featuring various structures and having various functions, those watchtowers are either one tiered or two-tiered. 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 celebrated are the Big and Small Jinshan Watchtowers.
How to Get There / Travel to Jinshanling :
Map of The North Half of Beijing City Province with Huairou County and Miyun County of Beijing, and the Great Wall at Gubeikou (and Jinshanling) delineating the Border with Hebei Province.
The big Jinshan Watchtower has two tiers which are connected by stone stairs. On the top of the tower 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, a famous general in the Ming Dynasty (1368 AD -1644 AD). To remind themselves of their hometowns, the tower was named Jinshan which was a pavilion's name in the Jiangxin Island in Zhanjiang. Poems and tablet writings can be found on the Jinshanling Great Wall left from the time Qi
- Click Photo to enlarge -
Best Options: Take the train at Beijing Northern Train Station at Xizihimen or opt for the Eastern Railway Station. In both Cases purchase Tickets to Travel to Gubeikou. When at Gubeikou transfer to the direction Jinshanling Great Wall.
Since 2008 AD all signs of trains and schedules are bilingual English/Chinese, so it should be no problem to find your way.
In case this doesn't work out, Beijing has grown to become quite an international city. Try find a younger person and ask for directions. It may well be they would love to practice their english. However, dont be gullable on directions.
Secondary Option: Go to a International Youth Hostel such as Yin Yishi or another one near Dashilan West Street and ask inside to book a Seat on a Tour Bus leaving for Jinshanling. Since Jinshanling is so popular for hiking, most Hostels
View of the Jinshanling Section from across the River at Simatai.
have tickets and arrangements available for anyone.
The 3rd Good Option is: Take long-distance bus at Beijing's Dongzhimen Bus station to Miyun county first, then take mini bus to Jinshanling tour area.
From XuanwuMen Bus Station Take the Tourist Bus Line No. 12 to go to the Jinshanling Great Wall. Mind you however - This Bus only operates on statutory holidays).
Last Option: Hire a Taxi for a Day at a Cost of about 100-120 US Dollars (depending on Oil Prices) and hit the road in Luxury and by yourself. The Cabby can stay the day while you explore the scenery and considerable length of Wall.
Jiguang directed building of this section of the Great Wall.
Wangjinglou (Lou=Tower) and the Taochun Lou are considered the Highlights on the Jinshanling Great Wall. As do many such places in China, especially on The Great Wall, each tower has a legend Attached to it.
In this Case Legend has it that the heavy stone bars used to build the Wangjinglou Tower were carried to the mountain top by Er Lang Shen, the nephew of the Jade Emperor.
The general tower on the other hand was named to commemorate Wu Guihua, a heroine who sacrificed herself to resist Mongol Invasion from the North during the Ming Dynasty Era. Jinshanlings' Black Tower and Taochun Tower were allegedly christened to commemorate two girls, Heigu and Taochun, who made great contributions to the construction of the Great Wall.
The main section at Jinshanling can either be reached on foot or by an eight hundred meter long (0.5 miles) cable way, both offering spectacular views. The Cabel Car fee does not include entry to the Great Wall.
Apart from the main ticketed and official section, there are several so-called "Wild Wall" Sections to be Visited. Beware however of Grumpy Peasants demanding cash for (tres)passing their Land (or so they say, who can verify!). The Wall for Preventing the Horses, the Retaining Wall, the Little Exhibition with Bricks with Old Graffiti and Labels and the Kylin Screen are also renowned and worth a visit. Meanwhile, there is a three-kilometer (two miles) Night Great Wall open to anyone who visits the Jinshanling Great Wall and who can stay the Night.
Great Wall, although a small river devides the two sections. Recently a suspension bridge has been assembled to let Tourist cross, naturally (in China) for an additional 5 RMB Fee.
The original Jinshanling Section of the Great Wall was built during the sixth century in the period of the Northern and Southern Dynasties (420 AD -589 AD), however it became part of a later and larger Great Wall.
At the advent of the Hongwu Reign of the Ming Dynasty, at the very beginning of the Dynasty Jinshanling was among the First Wall sections reconstructed as part of the massive reinforcements applied to the Great Wall during the entire Ming Reign Era. It was part of a national project, as the same time in the Far West, construction began on the JiayuGuan Fortress, the End Fortress of the Great Wall of China some 2000 miles away and the last pass regained on the Mongol Yuan Dynasty Armies. The Jinshanling Wall was repaired and reconstructed at more than one time during the Hongzhi and Zhengde Reigns of the Ming Dynasty. However, by far the most extensive reinforcements and renovations were carried out in the reign of Emperor Longqing and Wanli, in the years between 1567 AD and 1570 AD), leaving basicly the Wall as it remains today. It was restored between 1983 and 1988 AD on orders of the Chinese Government.
A Satellite image of China and East-Asia, with a super-imposed schematic Map
of the location and Path of the Great Wall as constructed during the Reign of
Map of Beijing City Province and ALL Locations of The Great Wall of China visitable within Beijing City Province and Immediate Vicinity. Find the Great Wall at Yellow Cliff (HuangYaGuan), JiangJun Guan, Simatai, Jinshanling, Gubeikou, White Horse Pass (Bai Ma Guan),Beishicheng, Mutianyu, Jiankou, DaZhenyu, Huanghuacheng, XishuiYu, Juyong Guan Pass and Fortress and finally Badaling.