Juyan Fortress of Great Wall
|Great Wall Relic Found in Juyan|
Juyan Fortress of Great Wall was the defensive barrier of the Hexi corridor in the Han Dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD), a vital passage connecting the central plain and the western regions. It is also called 'History Library of the Han' as a large amount of wooden slips have been unearthed there, carved with the historical records during that time.
Basic Facts of Juyan Fortress
Built in 102 BC in the Han Dynasty, relics of the Juyan Fortress were scattered across Jinta County in Gansu Province and Ejina Banner of Inner Mongolia along Heihe River.
In ancient times, the land where this fortress stood was called Juyan, so the fortress was named after it.
In the past, it was the defensive screen of the Hexi corridor. It also cut off the communication between the two major nomad powers at that time, Huns and Qiang, who were the great threats of the western border.
The remains measure about 155 miles (250 km) from northeast to southwest, much of which have been blown off by wind or buried by sand. The sites of Dawan City, Diwan City and Jinguan Pass can still be found in Jinta County, Gansu Province.
The number of wooden slips excavated there totals more than 30,000 pieces, ranking the first throughout China.
Site of Dawan Ancient City
Dawan City is separated into East Dawan City and West Dawan City by Heihe River, located 90 miles (145 kilometers) northeast of Jinta County. The East City was where the Jianshui Commandant's Office was located, consisting of an inner city, an outer city, and a fortress. The fortress can still be recognized today. But the inner city and outer city have dilapidated into three-foot (one-meter) high ramparts. The only relatively complete constructions are two broken beacon towers with a height of twenty feet (six meters). The west city on the opposite bank is smaller than the east one, with its east and south walls having been washed away by a flooded river.
|Great Wall Brick|
Site of Diwan Ancient City
Four miles (six kilometers) north of the East Dawan City is the site of Diwan City. There used to stand the office of the local marquis with three small forts and one fortress. However, only the relics of the fortress can still be seen today.
Site of Jinguan Pass
Jinguan Pass is also located at the east bank of Heihe River, one mile from the Diwan City. It is the joint of two Great Wall sections of the Han Dynasty and the only pass along the defense line in Juyan. There used to be a gate tower, beacon towers and fortresses. Due to years of erosion, major parts of the constructions have already gone, only a beacon tower and some ruins remain.
Wooden Slips Unearthed From the Sites
The weather here is dry and windy, and the rainfall is low, which provides a good condition for the preservation of cultural relics underground. Most of the Juyan Han wooden slips are Great Wall garrison files from the middle of the Western Han Dynasty (202 BC – 9AD) to the early Eastern Han Dynasty (25 – 220). A small portion of the wooden slips are books, historical calendars and personal letters. The content involves the garrison, border defense, combat service, administrative system and the lives of soldiers’ families. You can see some of them in Gansu Provincial Museum.
How to Get There
There is no public transportation to the site. You'd better reach Jiuquan first, then charter a private car to go there. Usually, it costs about CNY 600-1,000 per day based on car types.
Diwan City is located at around 151km northeast of Jinta County.
Jinguan is located at around 2km away from Diwan City.
The Chinese characters are the following:
大湾城 (Dawan City)：大湾城位于金塔东北120公里处
地湾城 (Diwan City)：甘肃省金塔县东北151公里