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Mutianyu Pass--Not Built into Pass City

MutianyuPass--Not Built into PassCity


The Mutianyu Pass is situated in the northwest of Huairou County, Beijing, 70 kilometres from the city. Located in the high mountain ridges linking Gubeikou in the east and Huanghua City and Juyong Pass in the west, it was an important fort for defence of the capital in ancient times, and was called "Impregnable Pass in Steep Mountains."


The wall at Mutianyu was constructed in the Northern Qi Regime in the 6th century, and rebuilt in the Ming Dynasty in the 14th century. The pass buildings were built in 1404, their structure unique to other passes.



The buildings of Mutianyu were built on the east side of the Mutianyu Great Wall and called the "Pass's Front Platform." The platform is located on low terrain between two mountains so favourable for defence that it is said that "one soldier defending there can stop the attack of a mighty force." The pass buildings are actually combinations of three hollow watchtowers. At the top are three houses for soldiers. In the watchtowers the floors are divided into main rooms and side rooms and one can pass one to another. The gate hole is not open on the watchtower itself, but on the walls beside the towers.


The Great Wall at Mutianyu has its own characteristics. Its two sides are edged with crenels at the top; hence, the defenders were able to attack their enemies from both sides. Such a double-crenelled wall is seldom found in other sections of the Great Wall.


The Great Wall runs along a slope from halfway up the mountain from the northwest side of the Front Pass Platform to the mountain top, climbing over the top and rushing halfway down again. The shape of the wall looks like an ox horn; hence the name, "Ox Horn Wall."


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