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Shanhaiguan Pass

Known as the First Pass under Heaven, the Shanhaiguan Pass is one of the world's grandest ancient structures as well as the starting point of the Great Wall. Situated between two sheer cliffs of the Yanshan Mountains, it has been a strategic place contested by militarists since ancient times. Standing between mountain and sea, the Pass controls both land and sea passages. With Beijing, the national capital, and Shenyang, the provincial capital of Liaoning, only 400 kilometers away, the Shanhaiguan Pass has been traditionally known as "the first important pass of the Great Wall and the only pass that can lock up the two capitals".

Built in tenth year of the Emperor Hong Wu's reign of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the city gate towers are the main sceneries in the Shanhaiguan Pass, composed of Arrow Tower, Muying Tower, Linlu Tower and Jingbian Tower. Among those towers, the most famous one is the East Gate, the tower of First Pass under Heaven. It forms a situation of Five Tigers Guarding the East Way, together with Weiyuan, Jingbian, Muying, Linlu towers. Standing on the second floor of the tower, one can have a full view of both inside and outside of the Shanhaiguan Pass. Today, the lower part of the tower has turned into a Great Wall Museum, showcasing archaeological materials, literatures, pictures and models.

The city gate towers of the Shanhaiguan Pass recorded great changes seen in the past 600 years. After the founding of New China, the Pass under careful maintenance has become a favorable tourist spot and won the honors of the Nation's Model Tourist Spot, the Nation's AAAA-Class Tourist Spot and the Nation's Excellent Tourist City, owning to its typically traditional architectural style and scenery blending mountain, sea and fortress. 

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