Jiayuguan Pass is the first pass at the west of the Great Wall of China. It is situated between the Wenshu and Heishan Mountains at the foot of Jiayuguan Hill of Qilian Mountain. Along with Juyongguan and Shanhaiguan, it is one of the main passes of the Great Wall.
With a length of 733 meters and an area about 33,500 square meters, Jiyuguan Pass has tow getes that one on the east side of the pass, and the other on the west side. On each gate there is a building. It consists of three defense lines: an inner city, an outer city and a moat.
Jiayuguan Pass is well-known as "the Impregnable Pass under the Heaven". It is also the most magnificent and best-preserved pass among the total over one thousand passes along the Great Wall of China. Jiayuguan Pass was built in the early Ming dynasty, about 1372. It was built on the extreme western edge of China. Legend has it that the official in charge asks the designer to calculate how many bricks would be used. The designer gives him the number and when the project is finished, only one brick is left. It is put on the top of the pass as a symbol of commemoration.
Jiayuguan Pass is not only endowed with geographical advantages, but excellent topographical and environmental features. It faces the Gobi, a vast open terrain that once served as a battle ground in ancient times. To its south is the trubulent Taolai River and the Wenshu Mountain and on its inner side lies a smooth terrain made of oases, fertile pasture land with adequate water sources. What's more, the castle is also of great architectural and cultural value and its towers and pavilions are of great beauty. The pagoda-style roof adds to the grandeur of the castle.