Back to Dunhuang

The Yang Guan (Southern Gate)

To the west of Dunhuang, the valley gradually broadens and one quickly enters the largely barren waste of the gravel desert.  There were to main defensive points on this side of the city, one (the Yümen Guan) controlling the major road west that led to Lou-Lan, and the other defending the road south to the mountains.   Along this southern route, traces of the old Han wall can be seen, leading to a small oasis that was the focal point of a complex network of watch towers.

Topographic Map
A map in the tiny museum at Yang Guan provides an idea of how extensive the fortifications were in the area. In addition to the watchtowers I have marked in red, and for which the original of the map has small photographs of the ruins, there are numerous other locations with archaeological remains of significance.
The remaining watch tower on the location of the fort
The view looking east to the adjoining oasis
The view looking south across the gravel desert, with the beginnings of the mountains on the horizon

© 1999 Daniel C. Waugh