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Where is the start point of the Great Wall?


13:20, July 19, 2012

Jiayuguan, literally "Excellent Valley Pass" is the first pass on the western end of the Great Wall.

The Great Wall of China is officially longer than previously thought. That's according to the results of a recent state survey. The latest measurements peg the length at 21,196.18 kilometers. It may seem endless, but the world's longest man-made structure does indeed have a start point. That can be found at Jiayuguan Pass in northwest China's Gansu Province.

Jiayuguan, literally "Excellent Valley Pass" is the first pass on the western end of the Great Wall. It is found at the narrowest point of the western section of the Hexi Corridor, 6 kilometers southwest of the city of Jiayuguan in Gansu Province.

Work started during the Ming Dynasty in 1372, but the pass wouldn't be completed until 168 years later. Its construction was the stuff of legend. One story goes that when the section was being planned, the officer in charge asked the designer to estimate the exact number of bricks required and the designer gave him a number.

The general doubted that this would be enough, so the designer added one brick. When Jiayuguan was finished, according to the tale, there was exactly one brick left, which was placed loose on one of the gates where it remains today.

The pass is made up of a trapezoidal city wall 11 meters tall and 733 around encompassing more than 33,500 square meters. The area boasts three defensive lines as well: an inner city, outer city and a moat. Jiayuguan is the most intact surviving ancient military building among all the wall's passes. It is also known as the "First and Greatest Pass Under Heaven".

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