“Yulinbu” (榆林堡) is also pronounced “Yulinbao”. Yulinbu is one of three ancient post stations outside Beijing in Ming and Qing dynasties and other two are Tumu Fortress and Jiminyi Post Station. These three ancient post stations were fortresses protecting Beijing in addition to the functions of post stations connecting Beijing with Mongolia and Shanxi and the west.
Yulinbu Ancient Post Station (榆林堡古驿站) is located in the village with the same name – Yulinbu Village, 2km east of Kangzhuang Township (康庄镇) and 12.6km southwest of Yanqing County, 80km northwest of Beijing city center. Yulinbao Village has an area of 9.99 square km inhabited by over 500 households with a population of over 2000.
The ancient post station was built in the shape of 凸 (convex) with two connected forts – the north fort of stone walls and the south fort of rammed earth walls. The north square stone fort is 244 meters per side length; the rammed earth fort is 423 meters long from east to west and 245 meters wide from north to south. The fortress walls are 10 meters high. The north city is comparatively well preserved.
Yulinbu Ancient Post Station was historically an important fortress transmitting official message and military intelligence by horse. It was originally established in 1262 in Yuan Dynasty (1271 – 1368), used both as a post station and a military fortress. It was the main post station outside Juyongguan Pass Post Station.
The ancient post station witnessed the arrival of royal families or celebrities with singing and dancing, battles and wars in its long history. In July,1221, Genghis khan led his army down south and stationed in Yulinao Fortress before conquering Beijing.
In 1449 happened the famous “Tumu Crisis”. The Ming Dynasty army was surrounded by the the Oirat Mongols. The battle led to the capture of the Zhengtong Emperor on September 1, 1449, and the defeat of a Ming army of 500,000 men by a much smaller force.
After the “Tumu Crisis”, the Ming government strengthened the northern frontier defense and reconstructed the Yulinbo Post Station into a fortified fort. So the current 凸 shape ancient city was rebuilt during the Ming Dynasty. At its prime time, the ancient fortress had 42 people, 120 horses and 60 donkeys.
In the early Qing Dynasty, especially during the reign of Emperor Kangxi, with the economic development, the roads were widened, the ancient post station became a home for passing-by merchants, and even ordinary people in addition to its post and military functions.
In August, 1900, the Eight-Nation Alliance attacked Beijing. Empress Dowager Cixi and Emperor Guangxi fled from the Forbbiden City. Dressed in peasant garb, Empress Dowager Cixi and her contigent embarked on a western trek to Xi’an. On 17 August, they arrived at Yulinbu Ancient Fortress. They hid inside a courtyard ( now today Liu Shuhai’s family) and wolfed down bean porridge as lunch. On that afternoon of the same day, they continued their west trek.
As an important ancient post station and military fortress, Yulinbu Ancient Post Station had enhanced the local economy. At the prime time, various shops and stores were set up in the southern city including drug, pawn, oil and grocery and so on.
The old post station has attracted the attention from all levels of the local governments. The research and exploration of the station is on the way. It is said a museum will be built to place and show the artifacts relating to the post station. Its relics and historical events involved will be also a big draw for urban residents and oversea travelers.
How to get there
If you are planning your Beijing tour, a short side trip to Yulinbu is a good choice if you are interested in Chinese history and insight information on authentic China.
Take the public Bus 919 or 880 from Deshengmen Bus Terminal and get off at the stop of West Yulinbu (西榆林).
Tip: Hassle-free Beijing Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours, here are some options for Beijing guided tours:
Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites
Any questions, just drop a line.