Yumenguan Pass | Jade Gate Pass

Yumenguan Pass, also called Jade Gate Pass, is situated in the western area of Dunhuang in Gansu Province, about 59 miles away from the downtown. Once as a significant military pass and a vital pass on the route of the legendary Silk Road, Yumengang Pass is said in the West Han Dynasty, only through this pass could the jade of the Western Regions be brought into the ancient China, hence the name of the pass.

In order to develop the west of the Yellow River around the period between 121-107BC, Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty gave an order of the construction of Yumenguan Pass. With a history of more than 1,100 years, it was one of the key military passes along the Silk Road together with the Yangguan Pass, built to function as solid frontier pass and to ensure the smooth traffic on the Silk Road.

Yumenguan Pass Yumenguan Pass
Yumenguan Pass Ruins Camels walk on the desert

The unique geographic position and functions of Yumenguan Pass endows it with special cultural significance in the long history with a lot of precious cultural relics, such as the inscribed bamboo slips, which illustrate the military issues, life, culture and diplomatic affairs at the frontier during the period of one hundred years or so of the Han Dynasty. In addition, there are famous poems describing Yumenguan, like 鈥渂eyond the Jade Gate vernal wind will never blow鈥? due to the landscape of the vast desert at the frontier Pass triggered strong emotions of scholars and military men.

Around Yumenguan Pass stands the Great Wall built in the Han Dynasty which is best preserved. The remained loess-rammed square fort of the original Pass covers a total area of over 630 square meters, with the ancient Great Wall passing outside the north gate, and a piece of waste land outside the west gate.

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