Juyongguan Pass lies 50 Km northwest of Beijing, it is located in a 15 Km long valley. Many passes were built at strategic points along the wall, and the Juyongguan Pass was one of them. Besides its strategic significance, this pass was also famous for its beautiful scenery. In fact, in the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234 A.D), this place was listed one of the Eight Best Scenic Spots in Beijing.
The gate in the center of Juyongguan Pass is built of finely carved marble and called Cloud Terrace or Guojie (crossing-street) in Chinese.
This building was originally the base of three towers and was built as early as 1345, more than 500 years of history now, this marble Cloud Terrace is nearly 10 mtres high, the bottom is 27 metres long from east to west, 15 metres wide from north to south. Seen from distance, this terrace is bigger at the bottom and smaller at the top.
Originally, on the top of the cloud terrace stood three towers, but an earthquake in the early Ming Dynasty destroyed the three towers on the top, only the terrace itself left. An arch gateway is underneath the terrace, which is more than 7 metres high, 6 metres wide, wide enough for carriages to go through. Both side of the arch gateway are decorated with carvings of Buddhas, four Celestial Kings, and the text of a buddist Sutra in Chinese, Tibetan, Sanskrit and three other minority languages.
In 1644, the troops of Peasant Uprising led by Li Zicheng, whose statue we saw on the way to the Great Wall, took over Beijing and entered the city from here. It was Li Zicheng, this peasant general who overthrew the Ming Dynasty that same year.
At that time, this was a very crowded area. Later on, buses as well as railways went by here, nobody would stay here for the night or do business any more, therefore, this area gradually became deserted.
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