Shanhaiguan Pass: History and Modernity


"Shanhaiguan passage" in translation from traditional Chinese means "passage between the mountains and the sea." The name of the strengthening was not in vain, because it is located in the narrowest place between the Liaodong Bay of the Yellow Sea and the Yanshan mountain system.


Shanhaiguan passage. Story

Shanhaiguan fortress today is the most well-preserved compared to other similar passages in the Great Wall of China. Despite the fact that the complex of fortification buildings appeared here in the late period of the Ming dynasty, at the end of the XVl century, this narrow strip along the sea acquired its strategic importance long before General Qi Jiguan, who was involved in the construction of a fortress and a military city.

For the first time, the Shanhaiguan passage was taken under guard in the XVl century, when General Xu Da, one of the most famous commanders of the Ming empire, organized the first checkpoint in this area.

In the following centuries, the passage was only strengthened, expanded and completed. A whole fortified area with a military town and several outposts formed around it. Thus, the passage was one of the most fortified defenses in the system, which separated the central part of China from the north.


The Qing Era and the Great Wall of China

In the new time, when the last imperial Qing dynasty was established on the Chinese throne, the Shanhanguan Passage acquired a special meaning and received the unofficial name "key to the capital".

The special value of the passage during the Manchu dynasty is related to the fact that representatives of this kind waged numerous wars with their neighbors, unsuccessfully trying to expand their sphere of influence in Central Asia and the lands north of the territory of modern Mongolia.

New history and modern state

Despite the fact that the walls had lost their former importance with the invention of gunpowder and the beginning of the active use of fire siege guns, the passage remained important until the 20th century, as it is one of the few ways connecting Manchuria and Central China.

That is why foreign troops sought, first of all, to seize this narrow seaside strip, because the capture of such an important strategic point would have allowed the huge empire to be split into two parts. It was just such a maneuver undertaken by the Japanese troops, who sought to occupy a weakened country at the beginning of the last century.

The fortifications have reached our days, having the form of a square with a perimeter of four kilometers. The walls of the fortress rise to 14 meters, and the width reaches 7 meters. This allows you to move carts with loads on it. The Shanhaiguan Passage today attracts a large number of travelers and tourists who want to learn more about Chinese history.

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