In early October we made a trip too Gansu Province to see the fortress at Jiayuguan, and the spectacular scenery of the Zhangye Danxia Landform.
The fortress at Jiayuguan was named as the First and Greatest Pass under Heaven during the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1644, 1644-1911), and was one of the three main passes of the Ming Dynasty fortifications. (The other two are Juyuongguan, near Beijing, and the fort by the sea at Qinhuangdao.)
Jiayugaun is also the westernmost major fortification of the Ming Dynasty Great Wall.
The Danxia landform is located in the middle of Gansu province, in Zhangye's Linze county, and is an area of fantastic scenery—the photos don't quite do it justice!
At the gate to the Jiayuguan fortress, a "Ming Dynasty soldier" is writing an entry permit (like a visa!) for visitors.
We were standing outside of the west gate of the Jiayuguan Fortress, with the light of the setting sun on the walls.
Late afternoon light on the West Gate of the Jiayuguan Fortress.
This gate is named Rouyuanmen, which is very difficult to translate!
The inner court of the Jiayuguan Fortress.
The fantastic colours of the Danxia landform.
Looking into the hills.
The Danxia landform covers a huge area of land.
Ridges in the Danxia landform.
Lines of colourful hills.
Some more colours.
The colours in this area were more muted
Some more colours.
A ridge in the distance.
We hiked through a valley.
It looks a bit like a tasty dessert – maybe a jelly!
We kept hiking through the hills.
We dimbed up to a high point for yet another perspective.
We had a picnic lunch on a small ridge.
We continued on the valley trail through the Danxia landform.
A big red cliff in the distance.
Hikers enjoying the walk.
More of the interestingly-shaped hills.
Gal has spotted something interesting.
Wild flowers in the valley.
This grasshopper is well camouflaged.
We walked along the ridge, through the coloured hills.
We stopped here for a group photo.
Closer shot of the group.
Hiking up to one of the peaks.
Group photo on the ridge, with the famous hiking flag.
Hiking a long the narrow ridge, with bright colours behind.
Almost up to the top.
We were the only hiking group in the hills.
Walking along the hills.
Rills in the valley.
These are furnaces, built in 1958 during the Great Leap Forward.
In the background is the "First Beacon Tower of the Great Wall", built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), near Jiayuguan.