Chinese: 白羊峪
Pinyin: Bái yáng yù
English: White sheep valley
Coordinates: 40°11'52"N 118°43'31"E

Baiyangyu features a water pass, castles, beacon towers, walls, watchtowers, slanting slopes and trenches, placing a wide variety of Great Wall defense mechanisms all in one place.

The Baiyang River runs southward through Baiyangyu pass. A gate was built connecting the Great Wall on both sides of the river. Today only the foundation of the watch tower on the east bank still remains.

Baiyangyu has a high concentration of watchtowers, and many of them are in very good condition. While traveling westbound on the Great Wall, Baiyangyu is one of the first places where you will find stone holes, the system for dropping stones on the enemy near the wall.

To the west of the pass, at 40°12'14.3"N 118°43'2.4"E, is Shenweilou (神威楼), or Invincible Might Tower. This is one of the most interesting towers on the entire Great Wall, with many unusual features and characteristics that are not found elsewhere.

Photo by Kim Siefert

Shenweilou was built against the outer side of the wall rather than in line with it. Its four walls were built of black bricks up to the rafter of the eaves. An arrow-shaped opening dug in the middle of the back exposed wall served as a window for fresh air and sunlight as well as a loophole for observing the enemy. It was also the place for arrow shooting and shell firing. Below the arrow-shaped opening are some stone-dropping holes. The structure of the east and west walls is similar to the exposed wall. The inside of the tower is an oblong arched room. A stone tablet was set on the upper lintel of the house with “神威楼” (Shenweilou). A screen wall was built opposite the arch. Shenweilou is built very strongly and still exists in good condition today.

To the east of Shenweilou, there is an unusual, wood-beam structured watchtower. There are many wall cabinets inside the tower, which is rarely seen on the Great Wall.

The Baiyangyu Great Wall was originally built during the Northern Qi Dynasty. This wall was made with bricks and was approximately three meters (ten feet) in width. During the Ming Dynasty, the main section was augmented with brick covering and widened to approximately 5 to 6 meters (16 to 20 feet). Stone walls are found in the sections which are far from the pass and difficult to reach. In some areas the entire wall, even including battlements and parapets, was built without the use of any bricks. Most of these stone walls have remained in excellent condition.

Baiyangyu Great Wall
Photo by Kim Siefert

In the east section of the brick wall, there are two stone monuments located side-by-side on the interior side of the wall. On each of them were written “The west boundary of the Dongxieyanhe region” and “The east boundary of Zhongxietaiping region”. These two stone tablets are the boundary tablets between regions of separate Great Wall renovation, maintenance, and defense responsibility.

West of the boundary tablet, limestone is used as the base of the wall and the watchtowers. Starting 2.1 kilometers (1.3 miles) east of the boundary tablet, marble is used as the base. This area is known as the Marble Great Wall and is popular with photographers.

Marble Great Wall at Baiyangyu
Photo by Kim Siefert

On the hillside north of the Baiyangyu Great Wall, there are some sloping walls made from stone and built parallel to the Great Wall. These sloping walls were made by patching up the steep hillsides on their tops and bottoms on which the Great Wall was under construction to make them into additional barriers. On the lower land north of Baiyang Water Pass lie two trenches which are also components of the Great Wall defensive system. They have been gradually filled up since the 1960s.

Location summary: Baiyangyu is about 202 kilometers (125 miles) from downtown Beijing. It is about 9.6 kilometers (6 miles) west of Lengkou and about 10 kilometers (6.3 miles) east of Hongyukou. The path of the Great Wall from Shimenzikou to Baiyangyu is about 5.3 kilometers (3.3 miles). The path of the Great Wall from Baiyangyu to Hongyukou is about 11.7 kilometers (7.2 miles).

Driving directions: From Beijing, drive east on the G1 Jinghua Expressway for 194 kilometers (120 miles). Exit at S252 and drive north for about 35 kilometers (22 miles) to Nandaocun. Turn left on S236 and drive for 4.1 kilometers (2.5 miles). Continue onto S363 and drive for another 6.4 kilometers (4 miles) to Dongmiwucun. Turn right and drive for 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) to Baiyangyucun.

Baiyangyu Great Wall map

I saw this ruin of what seems to be an old beacon tower on the Baiyangyu Great Wall yesterday.

It's located about 35 meters from the rest of the wall, but to me is seems a bit strange to place a beacon tower here on a flat area, when there is a high mountain close to the tower.

Since there seems to be some old wall very close the the tower it made me wonder if this is part on an older wall.

However it seems like a strange place to put a wall. There is a lot of other walls in the bottom of the valley to protect the farmland and avoid flooding, but this walls don't seem to have anything to do with farming.

Maybe just some walls build as an outer defence?

Any thoughts on this?

Today I went back to Baiyangyu and I just had to climb that top mountain.
Here is a view of the top watch tower seen from another tower on the top.

Yes, Baiyangyu is still my favourite place :biggrin: