Archive for the ‘Datong Travel’ Category

Shoukoubu Fortress

Monday, October 27th, 2014
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

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.

Shoukoubu Village is perched  the west side of the stream in the valley.

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.

Small bits of the original ramparts

Small bits of the original ramparts

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.

The east and west sections of the Wall guided the ravine or the valley

The east and west sections of the rammed earth Wall guided the ravine or the valley

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.

a clear picture of the village and the east section of the earth wall.

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 west section of the earth wall

The west section of the earth wall

 

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 round beacon towers

The round beacon towers

The beautiful autumn view of the east section of the earth Great Wall.

The beautiful autumn view of the east section of the earth Great Wal

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 lonely beacon tower stands on the hill

A lonely beacon tower stands on the hill

A  broken rampart with the autumn hues

A  broken rampart with the autumn hues

A broken rampart with the autumn hues

Any questions, just drop a line.

Zhenbianbu Fortress

Sunday, October 26th, 2014
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Zhenbianbu Fortress was one of the five most important forts along Datong Outer Great Wall built in Ming Dynasty ( 1368-1644). The fort was originally built with earth walls in 1539 during the reign of Jiajing Emperor in Ming Dynasty. In 1583 the earth walls surrounding Zhenbianbu Fortress was reconstructed with bricks and stones.

The walled garrison city is  rectangle in shape, 312 meters long from north to south and 312 meters wide from east to west with a perimeter of 1054 meters. The wall is generally 5 meters high and 3.3 meters wide on the wall top.

The exterior bricks and stones on the city wall have almost been taken away by the local villagers for building their houses. Today the same name village – Zhenbian Village is located inside the fort.  There are over 3 hundred  households with over 1000 villages.

The north city wall of the fort is now better preserved than other three sides. Many of the walls have collapsed or vanished. Recently the local tourism administration has invested in the restoration of the old fortress, attracting tourists to come here in a hope for developing the village economy and upgrading the life quality her. So it is better to visit here at an early date before the old for become too touristy.

The east city wall of Zhenbianbu Fortress

The east city wall of Zhenbianbu Fortress

The east city wall of Zhenbianbu Fortress

The wall at the northeast corner of Zhenbianbu Fortress

The wall at the northeast corner of Zhenbianbu Fortress

The wall at the northeast corner of Zhenbianbu Fortress

Standing on the east city wall and taking a picture of the village area along inside and outside the Wall

Standing on the east city wall

Standing on the east city wall

The dilapidated east gate coated with bricks and stones.

The dilapidated east gate coated with bricks and stones.

The dilapidated east gate coated with bricks and stones.

Autumn is the harvest time. We see the local villagers are busy doing their far word, threshing millet,corns and more.  The couple are threshing millet.

 The couple are threshing millet.

The couple are threshing millet.

One village’s family house

One village's house

One village’s house

Chatting with the local villagers

Chatting with the local villagers

Chatting with the local villagers

Threshing millet

Threshing millet

Threshing millet

Any question, just drop a line.

Datong Great Wall at Zhenchuankou

Saturday, October 25th, 2014
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

The rammed earth Great Wall at Zhenchuanlou is an important section of Datong Great Wall built in Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).  Zhenchuankou literally means “Control Mountain Pass” and the wall that was built to guide the pass linking Datong and Inner Mongolia. In Ming Dynasty, the Mongol nomads often raided Datong through the pass at Zhenchuankou.

Zhenchuankou Great Wall was made of earth, tamped earth wall, still very firm despite of the rain and wind in the past 500 years. The earth wall at Zhenchuankou is over 5 metes high, dotted with guide-towers and beacon-towers at a short interval.

The Wall at Zhenchuankou extends to Hongcibu Fortress and Deshengbu Fortress in the west direction and to Zhenbianbu Fortress in the east direction. 2.5 km south of Zhenchuankou Great Wall is the ancient Zhenchuanbu Fortress where the soldiers stationed for defending the Wall and the border.

An ancient village for the same name of Zhenchuankou Village is perched near the Wall.  It is a laid-back  scrubby village with many young people having left for the cities to make a better living.  Many houses are either abandoned or dilapidated.

Zhenchuankou Great Wall,  some give way to the roads,  ruined  and overgrown.

Zhenchuankou Great Wall,

Zhenchuankou Great Wall

Guide-Towers and Beacon-Towers are dotted at short intervals atop or near the Wall.

Guide-Towers and Beacon-Towers

Guide-Towers and Beacon-Towers

Hike on the overgrown Wall snaking on the flat plain.

Hike on the overgrown Wall snaking on the flat plain.

Hike on the overgrown Wall snaking on the flat plain.

The earth Wall is sandwiched by the fields on the both sides.

The earth Wall is sandwiched by the fields on the both sides.

The earth Wall is sandwiched by the fields on the both sides.

More dilapidated guide towers  and beacon towers

More dilapidated guide towers  and beacon towers

More dilapidated guide towers and beacon towers

Some sections are still firm and relatively well kept despite of the 500 years’ rain and wind.

Some sections are still firm

Some sections are still firm

Local villagers are harvesting corns in the corn fields.

Local villagers are harvesting corns in the corn fields.

Local villagers are harvesting corns in the corn fields.

Keep on hiking to Zhuanchuankou Village

Keep on hiking to Zhuanchuankou Village

Keep on hiking to Zhuanchuankou Village

 

The scrubby and timeless Zhenchuankou Village

The scrubby and timeless Zhenchuankou Village

The scrubby and timeless Zhenchuankou Village

Senior villagers are seen chatting and sunshine bathing.

Senior villagers are seen chatting and sunshine bathing.

Senior villagers are seen chatting and sunshine bathing.

The door frame at one of the houses by the only one street village

The door frame at one of the houses by the only one street village

The door frame at one of the houses by the only one street village

 

Any questions, just drop a line.