The battlefield in the Chinese anti-Japanese War in 1933
Gubeikou, situated in Beijing's Miyun County, is 125 kilometers away from Beijing proper. It has long been a town of military significance and an important passage to the capital city. The Yanshan Range winds from east to west and is cut off at Gubeikou, forming a natural narrow pass here. To the west of the pass are the Chaohe River and the Wohu Mountain, and to the east is the Panlong Mountain. From ancient times, Gubeikou has served as a route of strategic importance, linking the southern and northern areas of the Yanshan Range. As early as 2,500 years ago, a fortification was built here and was constantly reinforced throughout the following dynasties.
The main part of today's Gubeikou Wall was constructed under the supervision of Xu Da, a noted general in the Ming Dynasty. It runs for more than 20 kilometers and consists of four sections: Wohushan, Panlongshan, Jinshanling, and Simatai. It has 143 beacon towers, each positioned at an average interval of 156 meters. The nearest two are only 30 meters apart. The inside of these towers varies in design. While some have a flat ceiling, others either have an arched ceiling, a domed ceiling, or an octagonal, painted ceiling. Each tower has two floors, six archways, and ten arched doors, allowing garrisoned soldiers to advance and retreat freely. The towers are also different in size. The largest one can accommodate a garrison of 100 soldiers, and the smallest one a garrison of 10 soldiers. The towers often have one to six portholes.
The Gubeikou Great Wall was built along the precipitous mountain ranges, rising and falling at various sections. Simatai, built on a cliff, is extremely steep. A famous Great Wall specialist said: "The Great Wall is the best of Chinese architecture, and Simatai is the best of the Great Wall."
There are plenty of legends about the Gubeikou Wall, especially the Simatai section, as well as historical relics. At night, from the Beijing Watchtower, 986 meters above sea level, one can see the lights shimmering in downtown Beijing. West of this tower is the steeply situated Fairy Tower, that looks like a slim fairy standing between shrubs and wild flowers.
Because of its unique architectural characteristics, the Gubeikou section is rare among other sections of the Great Wall that were built during the Ming Dynasty.
Gubeikou was one of the important passes used to repel Japanese in early 1930's.
Gubeikou is a perfect section of Great Wall hiking and camping.
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