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Great Wall Museum at
Shanhaiguan, the First Pass of Great Wall


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12-day Adventure: 12A

Shanhaiguan Great Wall Museum



Located in Shanhaiguan Pass, about 200m (219 yards) to the south of the city gate of "The First Pass under Heaven", the Shanhaiguan Great Wall Museum is one of China's three Great Wall museums, the others being the Badaling and Jiayuguan Great Wall Museums. Opened in 1991, it focuses on displaying the history, culture, organization and military aspects of the Great Wall.


The pictures and cultural relics exhibited in the museum provide visitors with a fascinating insight into the history of mankind's greatest construction feat. The exhibits are divided between six halls: the Preface Hall, History Hall, Construction Hall, Military Hall, Culture Hall and Shanhaiguan Great Wall Hall.


Preface Hall: Visitors will see the statue of General Xu Da standing at the entrance of this hall. In 1381, Xu Da was ordered to build the Shanhaiguan Pass. Here, the story of Xu Da's enterprise is vividly depicted in pictures together with the brief history of the Pass.


History Hall: The first exhibit in this hall is a model of Banpo Trench depicting scenes of trenches dug by tribal people as a defense against floods and wild animals 7,000 years ago. These trenches are regarded as the early form of China's Great Wall. Next, a variety of pictures and brief illustrations vividly displays a potted history of Great Wall from Warring States Period (476 BC-221 BC), Qin (221 BC-206 BC), Han (206 BC-220), Sui (581-618) to Ming (1368-1644) dynasties.


Construction Hall: In this hall, details of site selection, layout and structure, the use of materials and source of labor during the Great Wall construction are explained. The bricks, tiles and tools used in building the Wall more than 400 years ago give visitors an almost first hand impression of the noisy construction site of the past.


Military Hall: Today, many sections of the Great Wall have been developed into hot scenic spots, which can easily cause tourists to overlook or even forget the initial purpose of the wall – for military use. This hall will help visitor understand how the Great Wall fulfilled its military role.


Shanhaiguan Great Wall Hall: This hall focuses on the analysis of the defense system of the Shanhaiguan Great Wall by a miniature of Shanhaiguan Pass that is controlled by sound, light and electricity. This is a straightforward example of showing the full extent of the pass extending from "Old Dragon's Head" to Jiumenkou, and also explains that the Shanhaiguan Great Wall is a complete military defense work consisting of passes, walls, watch towers and beacon towers.


Culture Hall: Visitors will learn about the local conditions and customs through a series of pictures of scenic sights, temples, palaces, murals and pavilions along the Great Wall.


The museum is a wonderful place to gain a full appreciation of the wall and all it entailed, and should not be missed!





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