Chinese: 城山
Pinyin: Chéng shān
English: Wall mountain
Coordinates: 40°9'30"N 119°12'51"E

About 4.3 kilometers (2.7 miles) west of Jielingkou is Shibeigou. About 2 kilometers (1.5 miles) to the west of the Shibeigou pass is Chengshan, a large mountain upon which the Great Wall was built. Shibeigou has an elevation of about 430 meters (1410 feet); Chengshan rises to a height of about 780 meters (2560 feet).

About halfway in between the valley and the mountain, you will find ditches dug on the north side of the Great Wall as additional deterrents. You will also find them along the top of the mountain.

Shibeigou Great Wall
Photo by Kim Siefert

At the east and west sides of the mountain, highly unusual battle walls were built approximately perpendicular to the main wall. These battle walls are quite short; the west wall is about 24 meters (79 feet) long and the east wall is about 28 meters (90 feet) long. They are freestanding, that is, they are not directly connected to the main wall. The walls are built to the south of the main Great Wall, that is, they are on the “friendly” side rather than the “enemy” side.

Making the battle walls even more interesting is their unusual construction. They are two-dimensional type walls. In other words, rather than being very thick, with layers of bricks on each side and filling in between, they consist only of a single wall, only the thickness of about three bricks. Unlike the normal Great Wall, they could be called fences. They are built to a height of about 3 meters (10 feet) using about thirty courses of bricks. They have round shooting holes which are tapered from a diameter of about 47 centimeters (18.5 inches) on the outside to about 15 centimeters (6 inches) on the inside.

Eastern battle wall at Shibeigou
Photo by Kim Siefert

The western battle wall is located at 40°9'10"N 119°12'32"E. The eastern battle wall is at 40°9'18"N 119°13'18"E.

In addition to these rare and interesting battle walls, the eastern slope of Chengshan offers a fantastic view to the east. You can see all the way to Jielingkou and beyond.

Due to repeated building and rebuilding, the wall at Chengshan is a strange mix of stone and brick wall with brick or stone parapet and brick towers.

Location summary: Chengshan is about 242 kilometers (151 miles) east of downtown Beijing. It is about 49 kilometers (30 miles) northwest of Shanhaiguan. The path of the Great Wall from Jielingkou to Chengshan is about 7.4 kilometers (4.6 miles). The path of the Great Wall from Chengshan to Taolinkou is about 21 kilometers (13 miles).

Driving directions: From Beijing, drive east on the G1 Jinghua Expressway for 242 kilometers (150 miles). Exit at S261 and drive north for 31.5 kilometers (19.5 miles). Pass Nanzhaicun and continue straight onto S363. Drive for 4.9 kilometers (3 miles) and turn right. Drive for 10.8 kilometers (6.7 miles) and turn right at Liuguzhuangcun. Drive for 2.2 kilometers (1.4 miles) and turn left. Drive for about 60 meters (200 feet) and turn right at Beiguan. Drive about 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) to the end of the road at Shibeigoucun.