Juyongguan Pass lies 50 km northwest of Beijing, it is locat-ed in
a 15 km long valley. Many passes were built at strate-gic points along
the wall, and the]uyongguan Pass was one ofthem. Besides its strategic
significance, this Pass was al-so famous for its beautiful scenery.
In fact, in the jin Dy-nasty 0115-1234 AD), this place was listed as
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 metres high, the bottom is 27 metres long from
east to west, 15 metres wide from north to south. Seen from dis-tance,
this terrace is bigger at the bottom and smaller at the top. Originally,
on the top of the cloud terrace stood three tow-ers, 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 Dy-nasty that same year. At that
time, this was a very crowded area. Later on, buses as well as railways
went by here, no-body would stay here for the night or do business any
more, therefore, this area gradually became deserted.