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Yumenguan Pass

The Yumen Pass, as a beacon tower site on the Great Wall, is located on the desert 56 miles northwest to Dunhuang City in Gansu Province at the western end of Hexi Corridor. Yumen Pass Originally known as Small Square City, Yumenguan Pass, together with Yangguan Pass, is the two crucial gateways on the western frontier of the Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220) lands.

the Yumen Pass, Dunhuang Silk Road, China ToursIn the early Han Dynasty, the Huns ceaselessly invaded the Han's area. At first, the weak Han rulers attempted to marry the daughters of imperial families to the Huns' leaders, in hope of gaining temporary peace. When Emperor Wu rose to power, he immediately gave up this cowardly policy by launching fierce counterattacks on a large scale. Finally, the Hun's troops were driven back. In order to strengthen the stability of the western frontier, this wise emperor ordered Yumenguan Pass and Yangguan Pass to be set up along the Hexi Corridor. Henceforth, these two passes, like two royal soldiers, honorably began to guard the western gate for their motherland.

Yumenguan Pass, Silk Road Tours

Yumenguan Pass, Silk Road ToursYumenguan Pass, Silk Road Tours

It was inevitably a strategic passage of the famous Silk Road in ancient China. Legend has it that Hetian Nephrite was transported to the Central Plains from the Western Regions through the Yumen Pass, which gave the pass its name, Yumenguan, or "Jade-Gate Pass" in English. At that time, Yumenguan Pass served mainly as a post station for businessmen, military generals and ambassadors. It has witnessed the prosperity of business transactions along the Silk Road. The silk peculiar to inner China was transported to the western region in an endless stream. Cultural aspects of western China such as music and religion were introduced to central China at the same time. It is said that the grapes, pomegranates and walnuts now growing in central China were originally from the western area.

To the Yumen Pass, two thousand years later, the light ringing sound of busy camel trains has disappeared. The cry of sellers in the markets is completely gone. Yumenguan Pass has lost its historic function. It is only a rectangular castle standing in the Gobi desert.

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