Yumen Pass

Yumen Pass, Dunhuang Attractions, Dunhuang Travel GuideThe Yumen Pass, situated in the Gobi Desert eighty kilometers northwest of Dunhuang County town, was once one of two critical defensive passes protecting Dunhuang from invasion from the West about two thousand years ago. The desert outside Yumen Pass bears few traces of human activity. At that time, anyone in China wishing to take the Silk Road west (or east into China through Dunhuang) had to pass through this spot. Those familiar with ancient Chinese poetry, may recall a poem written by the renowned Tang Dynasty poet, Wang Zhihuan, describing the unique scenery and atmosphere here.

The pass has also been known as Little Square City, named after a rare square piece of jade that was sent from the west to the Han emperor. Today, there are two gates at the western and northern sides of the pass built with yellow clay. Owing to severe erosion, some parts of the walls have collapsed, forming huge holes. On the northern side, there is a road leading west towards the ancient village of Hechang (15km away), which used to be the granary for the pass garrison.