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Iron Gate Pass

Because of the difficulty of access.

View A Thread of Silk on automidori's travel map.

Tiemenguan, August 18th 2012

This was actually the last place my driver and his cousin led me to. But I'm going to write about this first to make it easier to grasp the picture of the next settings.

So here it is, Iron Gate Pass, it says above. 關門鐵 but you must read it from right to left: tiě mén guān. The Iron Gate is known for its background love story between a princess of the Kingdom of Yanqi called Tzouhla. She fell in love with a poor herdsman named Tayir. The royal court opposed the relationship and a minister Karehan convinced the king to have Tayir killed. As the princess tried to rescue her lover from the king's soldiers, they both fell to their death in the gorge.

And what does that love story have to do with the Silk Road? Nothing. That's just another story. The Iron Gate Pass was of historical strategical significance because it formed a vulnerable bottle-neck on the Silk Road. A military checkpoint was established at the pass during the Tang Dynasty.
At present, the pass is no longer part of the road infrastructure of the region and is preserved as a scenic and historical area, says Wikipedia.

Here I am standing on the Ancient Silk Road. Peng Li said there's nothing more behind there. Well... it's true that this road is not used anymore. But how far is nothing, I would like to find out at another time, if I get the chance. My driver picked me up at the hotel one hour late. And then he and Peng Li spent almost an hour eating watermelon by the river... probably because they were waiting for their relative, Peng Li's aunt. She went back to the city with us, on the car that I had hired.

Anyway, looking far back behind and then up to the mountain cliffs, does bring one's imagination to the ancient Silk Road. What a tedious journey it must have been. China-Tour.com described:

Iron Gate Pass, in the rugged Kuluketage Mountain, is about 5 miles north of Korla City. More than 2,000 years ago the Silk Road ran from here along the Peacock River into an 18.5-mile-long valley and was a strategic passage on the ancient Silk Road. There has been a pass here since the Jin Dy­nasty. Because of the difficulty of access, it is called Iron Gate Pass and is among the 26 famous passes in ancient China. In the past Iron Gate Pass has seen many battles and skirmishes to control the area; ruins of passing armies can still be found at mountainsides near the pass.

These sediment rocks must be part of the body of the mentioned above Kuluketage Mountain.

Without a knowledge of Silk Road history, this place would be a meaningless place to visit.

Today, dams and reservoirs have been built at Iron Gate Valley. Part of the rough area of the Silk Road has been submerged in large stretches of water, and the new hydroelectric power station carries electricity to many different places, described China-Tour.com also.

For sure Peng Lung and Peng Li brought me to the hydroelectric power station. Till next post...

Posted by automidori 19:38 Archived in China Tagged china xinjiang korla iron_gate_pass

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