Niangziguan Pass of Great Wall

Located 28 miles northeast of Pingding County in Yangquan City, where Shanxi Province meets Hebei Province, Niangziguan Pass, originally called Weize Pass, is regarded as 'The Ninth Pass on the Great Wall'. It occupies an important commanding position, standing on the cliff surrounding by the gushing Taohe River.

Niangziguan Pass, translated as 'Women's Pass' in English. The name comes from a historic event. It is said that the Tang's (618 - 907) Princess Ping Yang, third daughter of Emperor Li Yuan and the sister of Emperor Li Shimin commanded an armed force of women soldiers set up a garrison here. In ancient times, this Great Wall pass was always being the point of battle because of the nearby lofty mountains and deep valleys. The fortress inside is built against the high Mianshan Mountain on one side, while facing a bottomless chasm on the other, making it impassable even to an army of ten thousand.

The present Niangziguan Pass fortress was rebuilt in Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644). There are only two gates – the south gate and the east gate. The south gate looks extremely dignified with four impressive characters 'Jing Ji Fan Ping' carved in the front, meaning the protective screen of the capital. The east gate is carved with 'Zhi Li Niang Zi Guan', which means the pass is directly under the control of the capital.

Nowadays, due to its attractive scenery, it has become a good place to spend holidays. Near the Niangziguan Pass, there are many places of historic interest, such as The Platform for Appointing Commanders, The Tower of Veteran General, and The Washbasin-Like Pool. The underground water resources within this area are very rich. The spring water gushes out in an endless flow every year. The Washbasin-Like Pool is carved in a rock, whose bottom flows with clear spring water. A legend says that this is the place where Princess Ping Yang washed her hair. Close to it, there are many waterfalls, the most impressive one called 'Shuiliandong', or 'Water Curtain Cave'. From its name, you can imagine what a big waterfall it is. The waterfall is made up of many small streams, pouring down from the lofty cliff and creating breaking showers, layer upon layer in all directions.

Endowed with both cultural relics and beautiful scenery, the Shanxi Niangziguan Pass is really worth visiting.

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