The Wall of the Northern Qi Dynasty | History
Great Wall History

The Wall of the Northern Qi Dynasty

In 550, Gao Yang, i.e. later King Wen Xuan Di, overturned the Eastern Wei Dynasty and founded Northern Qi. He adopted strict ruling measures, banned corruption and punished such cases, enacted new laws, and established states and prefectures to stabilize the society. On the other hand, he streamlined his troops and attacked the powerful enemy countries to the north and defeated Rouran, Tujue and Qidan.

To strengthen the north-border defense and protect itself from the Northern Zhou to its west, during less than 30 years of its life, the Northern Qi Dynasty built walls in the large scales comparable to the Qin Dynasty. The following is about each construction.

** In 552, the wall on the northwest was built. It ran northward about 200 kilometers from present northwest Lishi County to west Shuoxian County of Shanxi Province.

** Because the wall on the north border left by the Northern Wei Dynasty was in poor condition, in 555, King Qi Wendi rebuilt walls along this line. The labors for this construction numbered 1,800,000. The wall ran about 450 kilometers from present Nankou County near Juyongguan Pass to Datong of Shanxi.

** In addition to the new parts to the above two walls, Northern Qi built another wall in 556. It ran eastward about 1,500 kilometers, after reaching Shanhaiguan Pass found its way to the seashore. It was the longest since the walls of the Qin and Han Dynasties. Along the wall were deployed military posts every five kilometers. And up to 25 military towns were set up in strategic areas.

** In 557, a wall was built as a second defense line south to the wall already in existence. It ran eastward about 200 kilometers, starting at present Laoying Village of Pianuan County of Shanxi Province, traversing Yanmenguan Pass and then Pingxingguan Pass, and arriving at Xiaguan Village of Shanxi Province.

** In 563, King Wu Cheng Di built the wall that started from the junction of Shangxi and Hebei and ran along the range of Taihangshan Mountain. The wall ran about 100 kilometers with 12 military posts, the construction of which employed 20,000 soldiers. Some relics of this wall still exist near the peak of Taihangshan Mountain. The part is in relatively better condition between the Longquan Pass and Xiakou of Jianping County of Hebei Province. The part passing through the Niangziguan Pass, the Malingguan Pass and the Huangyangguan Pass no longer exists, except for some remnants of the pass gates.

** In 563, the state of Tujue dispatched a 200,000 military force, intending to attack Hengzhou, present northeast Datong of Shangxi Province, and to ruin the walls blocking its way to Northern Qi. In 565, Northern Qi repaired the inner wall built in 557 and renovated the wall built by the Eastern Wei Dynasty and prolonged it to the Yanmenguan Pass. The inserted part went westward from Xiaguan County of Shangxi Province, passed by Chajianling Mountain, the Futuyu Valley, the Zijingguan Pass and Mashuikou, and arrived at Juyongguan Pass. The part between the Juyongguan Pass and the Shanhaiguan Pass was also repaired.