Jinshanling Great Wall Overview
The Jinshanling Great Wall is located about 140 kilometers (87 miles) northeast of Beijing city, China. It is the best preserved part of the Great Wall in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) with many original features. Jinshanling connects to the Simatai section of the wall in the east and Gubeikou section in the west.
Dating back to the North Qi Dynasty (550-577), the wall, fortresses and passes were constructed in this area. You still can find the ruins of the wall in this period, mainly made of rammed earth. When the Ming Dynasty was established in 1368, General Xu Da was dispatched to rebuilt the wall between the Shanhaiguan Pass in the east and Juyongguan Pass in the west. Again in 1567, General Tan Lun and Qi Jiguang were appointed to guard the northern frontier of the capital in this area. Qi Jiguang spent 16 years to repair and reconstructed the wall of a total length of more than 1200 km in the northern frontier. The Jinshanling section is the best place we still can see the magnificent architectures of the Ming Dynasty. In terms of construction it is in no way inferior to the wall at Badaling. The Great Wall at the Jinshanling is seven meters high, six meters wide, and built of rectangular slabs of stone. The brick-paved walkway along the top of the wall is four meters wide and the crenellated openings two meters wide. In the merlons (the solid intervals between the crenels) there are small holes for observation and shooting arrows. There are also special openings between the crenels to insert flags for display or signal transmission.
The Jinshanling Great Wall is situated on the Big and Small Jinshan mountains, hence its name. It has an elevation of 700 meters. Based on huge stone bars, the Great Wall was then made by huge bricks, each of which weighed about 12 kilograms (26 pounds). It has five main passes, 67 watchtowers and 2 beacon towers. Every 100 meters (328 feet), there is an watch tower each of which is about ten meters (33 feet) high. 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.
Big & Small Jinshan Watchtower
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. To remind themselves of their hometowns, the tower was named Jinshan which was a pavilion’s name in the Jiangxin Island in Zhanjiang..