Datong Great Wall

Datong is called “the museum of the Great Wall” by some scholars because of its preservation of abundant wall relics from four different dynasties: the Warring States Period (475 - 221 BC), the Han Dynasty (202 BC - 220 AD), the Northern Wei Dynasty (386 - 534) and the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644). Different from the well-preserved and restored sections of the wall like Badaling and Mutianyu, the Great Wall in Datong is mostly composed of ruins built of packed earth rather than brick. The majority of the remains you can see now are that of the Ming Dynasty. 
Datong Great Wall
Great Wall in Datong, Shanxi
Datong Great Wall Relics
Datong Great Wall Relics
From Juyongguan Pass to the west, the Great Wall was separated into a northern wall and a southern wall, both passing through Datong. The southern wall is called the Inner Great Wall and the northern one is the Outer. The two walls in Datong have a total length of 335 km (208 mi), and include over one hundred fortresses and over a thousand beacon towers in seven counties and districts. Some of them are still in good condition and worth a visit.
 

Shoukou Fortress

This fortress is located in northern Yanggao County. This part of the wall is 46 km (28 mi) long with 4 passes and 138 beacon towers. It mostly lies in the mountains, flowing up and down the peaks and valleys. On some mountain tops, you can see huge square beacon towers for military observation and defense.
 

Zhenbian Fortress

One of the five major fortresses of the inner wall and the best-preserved part in the city. It is also the most distinctive structure in the Datong Great Wall. Because the terrain is flat, it provided no advantage for defense so numerous beacon towers were built close to each other with hidden channels connecting the towers and the wall to provide better conditions.
 
Desheng Fortress
Desheng Fortress

Desheng Fortress

This fortress was a key access and trading hub between the central plain and the Mongolian areas. In the Ming Dynasty, a market was set up here for the merchants of the Han and Mongolian tribes to do business. Nowadays, a major highway connecting Datong and Hohhot in Inner Mongolia still goes through this fortress.
 

Xinping Fortress

This fortress is in the northeast end of Tianzhen County, bordering Hebei Province and Inner Mongolia. In Xinping Fortress, many well-maintained antique residences from the Ming Dynasty and the Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911) remain. In the center of the fortress stands a three story protective tower called Yuhuang Tower. It is the only protective tower left in the city. In the tower, you can see some exquisite Taoist paintings.
 

How to Travel There

There is no bus or other public transport able to reach the relics of the Great Wall in Datong directly. You can hire a car from Datong to drive you to individual destinations. Hiring a 7-passenger minivan for a one-day trip in Datong generally costs CNY 500-700 and a 4-passenger car is usually about CNY 300-500.

The government is planning to construct a tourist highway connecting the major fortresses and other neighboring attractions in the city for travelers to experience the Datong Great Wall more conveniently.
- Last modified on Nov. 01, 2017 -
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