Shoukoubu Fortress was once one of an essential fort along the Ming-era Datong Great Wall. “Shoukoubu” literally means “Defending the Ravine Fort”. Here there is a valley or ravine in the mountain, a mountainous corridor connecting the Inner Mongolia and Datong ( Shanxi). The ravine was an vulnerable area easy for an access by the nomad warlords in Ming Dynasty, hence the fort built in 1546 with tamed earth and later with bricks and stones in 1572. The valley or the pass divides the wall here into the east section and west section.
A stream is winding through the ravine from north to south and the fort is located just on the west of the stream. Today the same name village – Shoukoubu Village is within the dilapidated castle. Parts of the ramparts around the fort are still visible.
The whole fortress or the local village is perched on the west valley surrounded by mountains almost in three sides. We have to give up the idea of taking sunset or sunrise pictures due to the high mountains blocking the sun and.
On the west section of the Wall on the steep hillside, the rammed wall feels hard and firm, going up along the rugged mountain. Eroded by the rain and blasted by rain, the wall appears like undulating saw-teeth perched on the steep slope.
Standing on the west side of the valley with the section of the hard yellow earth wall running down to the bottom of the valley, have a panorama of the fortress ( or the village), the wall broken at the mouth of the valley and the east section of the Wall, better understanding the name of the fortress – Shoukoubu ( Defending the valley Castle ).
Looking at the east direction, you will see the guide-towers and beacon-towers are scattered around the mountain in the east side in a far distant mist with the backdrop of the autumn apricot trees and the courtyards in the village.
Here you can find some round beacon towers perched on the west slopes of the mountain rarely seen in Beijing.
Shoukoubu Village is perched the west side of the stream in the valley.
Small bits of the original ramparts can still be seen in the northeast corner of the village.
The east and west sections of the Wall guided the ravine or the valley, an easy access linking the Inner Mongolia in the north and Datong in the south. By the south of the wall is the former old Shoukoubu Fortress.
If you stand on the high hillside of the west of the valley, you can have a clear picture of the village and the east section of the earth wall.
The west section of the earth wall winds steeply down to the valley from the hill.
The round beacon towers seldom seen in Beijing are quite popular along the earth wall in Datong. You see the two high round earth beacon towers atop the hills looming over the castle and village.
The beautiful autumn view of the east section of the earth Great Wall.
A lonely beacon tower stands on the hill near the east section of the earth wall.
A broken rampart with the autumn hues
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