Chinese: 雁门关
Pinyin: Yàn mén guān
English: Bird gate pass
Coordinates: 39°12'18"N 112°46'32"E

Yanmenguan is a major pass along the inner Shanxi Great Wall. The pass is located on Yanmen Mountain, at Xingguangwucun village, about 6.3 kilometers (4 miles) northwest of Yanmenguancun village. Built in 1374, Yanmenguan features a complex system of walls and fortresses that created a formidable barrier to invaders.

Yanmenguan pass has three gates. The north gate is inscribed with the three characters, Yan Men Guan. The east gate is inscribed Tian Xian, meaning unbreakable stronghold. The west gate is inscribed Di Li, meaning strategic geographic location.

Much of the brick facing on the walls in the Yanmenguan area has been removed, but it remains intact in some areas.

Yanmenguan, or Wild Goose Gate Pass, is named after wild geese that migrate through the area yearly.

Location summary: Yanmenguan is about 312 kilometers (194 miles) west of downtown Beijing and about 106 kilometers (66 miles) south of Datong.

Driving directions: From Datong, drive south on G55 for about 96 kilometers (60 miles) from the ring road to Xiangguangwucun. Then, optionally, go east on G208 for about 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) to Yanmenguancun.

I have been there! It's one of the main passes on the inner wall in that area. The following photos were taken taken down near the bottom of the mountains:

Most of the brick cladding has been removed from the wall, but some still remains.

Our goal is to walk up to the arch.

That's me, 2nd from the right!

The wall is better preserved the further from the village it goes. Unfortunately we didn't walk any higher that day. I MUST go back one day.

Very very nice photos. Do you have some GPS-data from there for our map? Did you go there for recreation or did you do Great Wall research? Have you visited other Great Wall locations in that area or at all?


It was just a holiday, but amazing. I'm very interested in finding out, and seeing, much more of the wall.

I don't have any accurate GPS data, but from Google Earth I gather that the area in which these Yanmenguan photos were taken is at approximately: 39°12'18"N 112°46'32"E