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三关口Sanguankou Pass is located 40 km. southwest of 银川市Yinchuan city, the provincial capital city of 宁夏回族自治区Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.   This pass is at the south end of 贺兰山Helan Shan, the mountain range that separates northwest Ningxia and Neimenggu (Inner Mongolia).   Historically, Mongolian horsemen crossed this openning on their way south to attack the Central Plains, so the pass has been of great military importance.   A quick glance at the map will tell why Sanguankou is strategic:   To the west of the pass is the great expanse of the 腾格里沙漠Tenggeli (Tengger) Desert where nothing can stay alive in its midst, therefore, only along the western foot of Helan mountains were towns setup.   And along this north and south span of Helan Shan, the Mongolian horsemen came rushing down every hungry winter.   Ghengis Klan himself led his cavaliers through Sanguankou, then known as 赤木口Chimukou, to attack the 西夏王国Western Xia Kingdom, whose citizens were so adamant that it took the life of Ghengis to wipe out its last child and flatten its every living space.   Today, the only solid proof of this mysterious kingdom's existence is the remains of its royal tombs.   These unique cone-shaped tombs dotted the area north of the pass, on the east foot of Helan Shan.

The Great Wall at Sanguankou was constructed during the 明朝Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), in the tenth year of 嘉靖Jiajing (1531).   Nine years later, the Wall was rebuilt again because the earlier Wall was levelled by sandstorms.   The new Wall was a composite of local gravels, and imported soil and water.   It runs about 80 km. south, across level plains in an almost straight arrow, til it ends not far from the right angle bend of 黄河Huang He (Yellow River).   Today, a major highway runs through it at the pass, connecting Yinchuan city and 阿拉善左旗Alashanzuoqi in Inner Mongolia.

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    银川市至三关口长城的路线Road Map of Yinchuan City to Sanguankou Great Wall (Detail: click image for full map)

  1. 银川市Yinchuan City
  2. 三关口长城Sanguankou Great Wall
  3. 贺兰山Helanshan Mountains
  4. 黄河Huanghe (Yellow River)

NEW -- July 21, 2010

The beautiful city of Suzhou crisscrossed with narrow water canals

Travel Info

三关口长城图片Sanguankou Great Wall Pictures

  • Picture of 三关口长城 Sanguankou Great Wall

    In the background is the 贺兰山Helan Shan Mountains. Sanguankou Great Wall runs parallel to this mountain range that is now the natural borderline between 宁夏回族自治区Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and 内蒙古Neimenggu (Inner Mongolia).

  • Picture of 三关口长城 Sanguankou Great Wall

    In the distance, besides the great wall, were numerous graves. But they they are too tiny to been seen on this online image. Beyond the Wall is the 贺兰山Helan Shan Mountains. Sanguankou Great Wall runs parallel to this mountain range that is now the natural borderline between 宁夏回族自治区Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and 内蒙古Neimenggu (Inner Mongolia).

  • Picture of 三关口长城 Sanguankou Great Wall
  • Picture of 三关口长城 Sanguankou Great Wall
  • Picture of 三关口长城 Sanguankou Great Wall
  • Picture of 三关口长城 Sanguankou Great Wall
  • Picture of 三关口长城 Sanguankou Great Wall
  • Picture of 三关口长城 Sanguankou Great Wall
  • Picture of 三关口长城 Sanguankou Great Wall
  • Picture of 三关口长城 Sanguankou Great Wall

    The Wall was constructed of gravel binded together with earth and water, so it is very solid and durable.

  • Picture of 三关口长城 Sanguankou Great Wall

    Sanguankou great wall is on the borderline between 宁夏回族自治区Ningxia and 内蒙古Neimenggu (Inner Mongolia) on the north. Here I was on Inner Mongolia side — northwest side of the Wall.

  • Picture of 三关口长城 Sanguankou Great Wall

    The Wall can reach as high as 7 meters and as wide as 6 meters, but averages about 4 meters high.

  • Picture of 三关口长城 Sanguankou Great Wall
  • Picture of 三关口长城 Sanguankou Great Wall

    This whole area is just rocky hills and mountains.

  • Picture of 三关口长城 Sanguankou Great Wall

    There is nothing here but wasteland. At a distance away from the Wall, behind a hill, I heard thunderous wailings of construction machines, and clouds of smoke and dust would rise.

  • Picture of 三关口长城 Sanguankou Great Wall
  • Picture of 三关口长城 Sanguankou Great Wall - Highway

    The major road near the Wall.

  • Picture of 三关口长城 Sanguankou Great Wall

    The marks of heavy machines. Gravels for construction lay in large piles in the area.

  • Picture of 三关口长城 Sanguankou Great Wall - sheeps

    I was on a cargo truck when I saw this herd of sheeps. I could not resist getting off for a close up look.

  • Picture of 三关口长城 Sanguankou Great Wall - sheeps

    Besides the sheeps, there were also horses fenced off besides the highway.

  • Picture of 三关口长城 Sanguankou Great Wall - sheeps
  • Picture of 三关口长城 Sanguankou Great Wall

    The desolate landscape in the area.

  • Picture of 三关口长城 Sanguankou Great Wall

    The desolate landscape in the area.

image of Jiayuguan fort

嘉峪关Jiayuguan (Jiayu Pass) - the lone fort at the edges of the desolate and bare Gobi desert. It is at once both a timeless symbol of human's uncompromising reach and an otherworldly mirage.

trucks on the desert road

Pictures I took while on a bus traveling through the sandy deserts of 甘肃Gansu on my way to 嘉峪关Jiayuguan.

clay figure of 钟馗 Zhong Kui

Arts and Crafts that I bought along my travels.

image of stone lion

The stone lions, chimeras, toistoises and unicorns that guarded the royal tombs of the 六朝Six Dynasties Era for the past 1600 years.

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I took the bus to 巴彦Bayan, and when I saw the Wall emerged from the dead hills, I asked the driver to drop me off.   A sign beside the road states "内蒙古边界(Inner Mongolia borderline)".   I walked about half a kilometer of the Wall.   It was easy walk.   Nothing blocked my way because there was nothing but gravels and bald hills.   But there was the chronic sounds of roaring construction machines from behind another hill, and I saw the dust and smoke rose from there.   Unlike the eastern Wall, this one runs straight on flat lands.   I let my eyes follow its relentless march toward the distant emptiness til my eyeballs stuck on a pack of gravestones sticking up beside the Wall.   I stayed an hour or two at the Wall; then headed back to the road and hailed for a vehicle to get me to 西夏王陵Western Xia's Royal Tombs.   Watch my short video clip of Sanguankou Pass.  

trucks on the desert road

Pictures I took while on a bus traveling through the sandy deserts of 甘肃Gansu on my way to 嘉峪关Jiayuguan.

Travel Information

Getting There:


Bus ticket from 银川市Yinchuan City to 三关口Sanguankou Pass.
From 银川市Yinchuan city's 南门汽车站Nanmen (South Gate) Bus Station, take the bus (Y10) to 巴彦Bayan (on the bus, it was written 巴音Bayin, but I could not find this location on my map.   Either I wrote it incorrectingly or the sign was written incorrectly.) and ask the driver to drop you off somewhere at the Sanguankou Wall.   Have your eyes on the lookout for the Wall and get off where you see fit.   My first bus driver forgot to drop me off and I did not notice the wall; so for 1.5 hours I was whistling along barren red-brown hills that lined both sides of the road.   I got off and waited on the lone road with the wind smacking me for being unattentive.   On the bus back, my head was glued to the window.   So be aware: the Wall is easily hidden by the hills beside the road.

Entrance Ticket:

None that I know of.