It has a history over 630 years. In 1372, during the Ming Dynasty, a fortress was built to protect the last frontier of the Chinese empire. It was completely built up in 1540 and became a small township engaged in local trading, catering to the needs of the military garrisons stationed at the fort. The city was used to be the pass of the famous Silk Road and the first pass at the west end of the Great Wall in the Ming Dynasty.
The Jiayuguan Pass was constructed as far back as 1372. Legend has it that the official charged with overseeing the building of the pass demanded that the foremen not squander a single brick. The builders were for the most part successful, and the project was finished with just one brick surplus to requirements. It was actually left at the site and has become famous among the tourists visiting the area.
The pass is constructed in three concentric layers: the central area is made up of an inner city, containing the largest of the pass' buildings; an outer city section, surrounded by a large wall dotted with watchtowers, turrets, and high-terrace pavilions; and finally, for purposes of defense, a moat. All of these features combined to make it a daunting prospect for any would-be attackers.
On the walls there are 14 pavilions. Inside the wall, there are also many spots of interest, such as the General's Mansion, the Well Pavilion, and Wenchang Pavilion. Outside the eastern gate, there is a Guanyu's Temple (in honor of General Guanyu who lived in the period of Three Kingdoms), a memorial archway, and an opera tower. The overall layout of the section in the inner wall is integrated and well-organized.The walls at the Jiayuguan Pass linked with the Great Wall, formed a strongly fortified defensive system. There are many legends concerning the construction of the walls: "goats carrying bricks on their backs", "the foundation brick", "transporting wall stones on an icy path". All of these stories give people a sense of mystery.
Lanzhou Travel Guide