China: Jiayuguan – Jiayuguan Pass Fort

One of the most spectacular intact medieval military fortresses stands in the Jiayuguan Pass – a Pass between the mountains that is about 700m/2000ft wide. This was the final frontier of ancient China during the times of Ming Dynasty and major point along the Silk Route. The fort is massive and spectacular, built in classic Chinese architecture with thick double walls, two gates, multi-story double gate towers and watch towers, turrets, moats, and so on. The Pass’s name literally means “the first and greatest pass under heavens” and was essentially the gateway to and out of the medieval China across the vast Gobi Desert. People who were expelled out of China left through the west gates never to return and the pass was never conquered by any invaders from the west.