First Beacon Platform of the Great Wall

Historic Site in Jiayuguan

Atop a 56m-high cliff overlooking the Tǎolài River south of Jiāyùguān, a crumbling pile of packed earth is all that remains of this beacon platform, believed to be the first signalling tower along the western front of the Great Wall. Views over the river and bare gorge below are impressive and you can walk alongside attached vestiges of adobe Ming-era Great Wall.

A sightseeing trolley (¥12) shuttles visitors 3km from the ticket office to the subterranean viewing platform, labelled the ‘Underground Valley’. Inside, an excellent exhibition on the beacon platform, the fort and the history of the Wall in this area provides some context. Views of the beacon platform can be had from a see-through cantilever bridge at the back of the exhibit hall.