Laolongtou Great Wall (Old Dragon's Head

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Lying five kilometers (three miles) south of Shanhaiguan Pass in Qinhuangdao City in Hebei Province,
Laolongtou Great Wall (Old Dragon's Head) is the eastern starting point of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)
Great Wall. It extends about 20 meters (66 feet) into the Bohai Sea like a dragon drinking water, hence its
Laolongtou Great Wall comprises the Chenghai Pavilion, the Nereus Temple, the Estuary Stone City, the
Jinglu Beacon Tower, the Nanhaokou (Southern Estuary) Pass and the Ninghai City. In 1900, the Eight
Power Allied Force invaded Shanhaiguan Pass and destroyed the Laolongtou. In 1984, it was rebuilt by
the people of Shanhaiguan City.
The Chenghai Pavilion is the most celebrated architectural structure. It is a two-story building built with
bricks and wood. Emperors in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) including Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong
once visited there on their way to Mukden (Shenyang City) to worship their ancestors and left many
poems and inscriptions. A plaque with four Chinese characters 'Yuan', 'Qi', 'Hun' and 'Mang' and a pair of
couplets written by Qianlong still hangs on the lintel and columns of the hall. Poems from other famous
literary figures are inscribed on the tablets which are embedded on the walls. In front of the Chenghai
Pavilion is an ancient stone tablet which is inscribed with four Chinese characters 'Tian', 'Kai', 'Hai' and
'Yue'. It is about three meters (10 feet) high and one meter (three feet) wide. It is said that the stone tablet
was established by Xue Rengui, a famous and legendary general in Tang Dynasty (618-907) who
conquered Korea.
Reconstructed in 1988, the Nereus Temple is about 350 meters (0.2 mile) from the Laolongtou Great
Wall. It consists of many archways, the Drum Tower, the Nereus Hall, the trestle bridge and the Hall of
the Goddess of Heaven; the Nereus Hall and the Hall of the Goddess of Heaven being the main
structures of the temple. Inside the temple are sculptures of Nereus, Goddess of Heaven, Eight Immortals
and the Door Gods. A plaque inscribed by Qianlong hangs on the door lintel.
The Estuary Stone City was built by Qi Jiguang, a famous general of the Ming Dynasty. It is a city
measuring about nine meters (30 feet) high and eight meters (26 feet) wide which extends approximately
22 meters (72 feet) into the sea. The city is built on natural reefs and huge rocks thrown into the sea to
act as foundations. It once served as a defence fortification designed to resist the aggression of the
Jinglu Beacon Tower was built in 1565. Following extensive reconstruction, the beacon tower stands
about 15 meters (49 feet) high. The tower has three rooms which are connected by six door openings and
nine windows in all, making the rooms well ventilated. It functions as a defense system together with the
Chenghai Pavilion, Nanhaikou (Southern Estuary) Pass.
The Ninghai City and the the Nanhaikou (Southern Estuary) Pass are also worth a visit. The Ninghai City
was built in the Ming Dynasty. On the north and west city gates are two embrasured watchtowers
guarding the South China Sea. The Nanhaikou (Southern Estuary) Pass is the No.1 Pass of the Ming
Dynasty Great Wall according to the location order.