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Located about five miles southeast of the Bakeshiying Township in Luanping County in Hebei Province, the Jinshanling Great Wall is the best preserved part of the Great Wall with many original features. It starts from the Wangjinglou Tower in the east and ends at Longyukou in the west and stretches about six miles.
The Jinshanling(The Golden Mountain Ridges) Wall is situated on the Big and Small Jinshanling, hence its name. Based on huge stone bars, the Wall was then made by huge bricks, each of which weighed about 12 kilograms (26 pounds). It has five main passes and 67 watchtowers. Every 100 meters (328 feet), there is an watchtower 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.
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 flat polished bricks. The Small Jinshan Watchtower was constructed by soldiers from Zhejiang and Jiangsu Provinces led by Qi Jiguang, a famous general in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). To remind themselves of their hometowns, the tower was named Jinshan which was a pavilion’s name in the Jiangxin Island in Zhanjiang. (flat polished bricks used for house roofs in ancient Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces in ancient China)
The Wangjinglou Tower, the General Tower, the Black Tower and the Taochun Tower are also must-sees on the Jinshanling Great Wall. Each tower has its legend. Legend has it that the stone bars used to build the Wangjinglou Tower were carried to the mountain top by Erlang Shen (*1), the nephew of the Jade Emperor (*2). The General Tower was named to commemorate Wu Guihua, a heroine who sacrificed herself to resist northern invader’s invasion in the Ming Dynasty. The Black Tower and the Taochun Tower were christened to commemorate two girls, Heigu and Taochun, who made great contributions to the construction of the Great Wall.
The Wall for Preventing the Horses, the Retaining Wall, the Bricks with Words Written on and the Kylin Screen are also renowned and worth a visit. Meanwhile, there is a three-kilometer (two miles) Night Great Wall and an eight hundred meters (0.5 miles) cable way. Anyone who visits the Jinshanling Great Wall should not miss them.
*1 A Chinese god with a third truth-seeing eye in the middle of his forehead in Chinese mythology.
*2 One of the representations of the first god in Chinese culture, traditional religions and myth.