Southern Great Wall

The southern Great Wall is the only great wall in southern China. It is located in Xiangxi Autonomous Prefectures of Hunan Province, therefore it is also called “Miaojiang Great Wall (Great Wall of Miao Territory)”. This Southern Great Wall was first built in 1544 in Ming Dynasty and completed in 1622. It is a magnificent military defensive project in ancient China, and also one of the massive ancient building complexes in Chinese history. The Southern Great Wall starts south of Tianzi pass of Tongren City in Guizhou Province in the South and north of in Xique military camp of Guzhuang County in western Hunan Province. Most of this Southern Great Wall runs through Fenghuang County, with the total length of more than 190 kilometers, and it mostly constructed on precipitous ridges. 

The watchtower on Southern Great Wall

Southern Great Wall Facts

-Chinese name: 南方长城

-Location: Fenghuang County, Tujia-Miao Autonomous Prefecture in west of Hunan Province, China

-Time needed: 1 hour

-Entrance fee: CNY45

-Opening Hours: Apr to Nov: 7:30am-6:00pm; Dec-Mar: 8:00am-5:30pm 

Best Time to Visit Southern Great Wall

The Southern Great Wall is located in the west of Hunan Province, where belongs to the subtropical zone enjoying a humid monsoon climate and has four distinctive seasons. The annual average temperature is 12 ℃ - 16 ℃ at this area, the hottest July is 24 ℃-27 ℃, the coldest January is 1.7 ℃ - 4.3 ℃. The Southern Great Wall is suitable for visiting in all seasons, and the best time is from April to November.

What to See at Southern Great Wall

There are more than 1,300 blockhouses, watchtowers, sentry turrets, fort barbettes and gates for stationing troops and defenses, more than 800 of those were built in Fenghuang County. At that time, the number of garrisons was about 4,000-5,000 soldiers, and it even increased to 7,000 at the height of the population. The Southern Great Wall is about 3 meters high, 2 meters wide at the bottom and 1 meter wide at the top, most of the walls were built on precipitous ridges. Therefore, local places are mostly named after paotai (fort barbette), shao (sentry turret), bao (fortress), diao (blockhouse), guan (pass) and ying (military campus). According to the research of experts, all the stones that used in the construction of the Southern Great Wall were collected from the bottom of the mountain and transported up one by one, what an amazing project!

The stunning view on Southern Great Wall

Today, most of the Southern Great Wall has been destroyed, and the remains are scattered on the sparsely populated ridges in the western of Hunan Province, we can see intermittent walls and some well preserved castles. In the year of 2001, 1.78 kilometers of the Sothern Great Wall was repaired, funded by local government. The areas where you are going to visit now are the repaired parts. Perhaps due to the military strength of Miao ethnic group wasn’t strong as the northern minorities, the Miaojiang Great Wall has not been built as firmly as the Great Wall in northern China, and the stone used are much smaller than the Great Wall in northern China. Although the Southern Great Wall is not as magnificent as the great wall in north, it contains the unique southern scenery and ethnic customs of Western Hunan.

Huangsiqiao Ancient Town is an ancient castle of the Southern Great Wall defense system, and it is also the best preserved castle in China so far. Huangsiqiao Ancient Town was first built in 686 AD, the wall was originally built by earth, in order to consolidate the rule of Miao territory, the earth walls were replaced by stone in Qing Dynasty. The wall of the town has height of about 5 meters, a width of 3 meters and circumference of 686 meters. Huangsiqiao Ancient Town has three gates in the East, West and North, and there is a tower on every gate. In Huangsiqiao Ancient Town, there is a royal garden which is said to have been built by the order of Empress Wuzetian. 

Huangsiqiao ancient city at Southern Great Wall


How to Get to Southern Great Wall

1. You may take bus from Tuqiaolong Bus Station (土桥垅汽车站) in Fenghuang County, this bus will terminate at “Alaying “(“阿拉营”), while please tell the driver to drop you off at the Southern Great Wall Scenic Area. It takes about 30 minutes.

2. Rent a car from your hotel, which only takes about 15 minutes.

More Attractions in Zhangjiajie

  • Fenghuang Ancient Town
  • Zhangjiajie National Forest Park
  • Tianmen Mountain National Forest Park