Results 1-2of 2 Reviews
Rotherham, United Kingdom
February 13, 2010
From journal Present Day Beijing
July 30, 2007
Rising up at the far end of Ming Dynasty City Wall Site Park is the magnificent Southwest Corner
Tower (Dōngnán Jiăolóu) the only
surviving arrow tower in Beijing and the largest
and earliest in China.
Originally built in 1436, as part of the great reinforcements of the Ming
Dynasty (CE 1368-1644) wall, it is nearly 30m tall and has 144 arrow holes.
The tower was a key part of the city’s defense well into the Qing Dynasty
(CE 1644-1911) seeing action as late as 1900 when it fell to the Eight-Power
Allied Forces that besieged the city. Russian and American graffiti from that
time can be seen on the side of the tower next to a sign that reads "Do not
vandalize the historic relic". It has since been restored and opened to the
public as an important historic site.
Entrance to the Southwest Corner Tower (daily 8am to 5:30pm, ¥10) is
gained through the magnificent 9.2m x 8.2m railway arch which was knocked
through one of the great buttresses in 1915 to make way for the Round-the-Capital
Railway Line. From the concession stands and public toilets beyond, you
make your way up the gently sloping horse way to the top of the wall where you
will find a couple of pushe that acted as both barrack house and
armoury, the old flagpole stone from which once flew the Pure Blue Banner,
a 1.5 ton iron cannon from 1638, and the entrance to the tower.
The four-story tower now houses the Red Gate Gallery (daily 10am to 5pm,
free) one of Beijing’s
leading cultural institutes. Established in 1991, the gallery offers eight solo
shows a year from its own residency program and an exciting series of temporary
exhibits from local and international artists alike. At the forefront of
Chinese contemporary art, this gallery is well worth regular visits. Check out
what’s currently on at http://www.redgategallery.com. The
upper stories of the tower are currently under restoration but upon completion
will once again offer fine views across the district and beyond.
The wall used to run all the way from here up to the Ancient Observatory
in Dongcheng District but this connection was severed by the construction of
the Beijing Main Railway Station. So instead, watch the trains coming
and going for a short while before returning to continue your explorations at
From journal Beijing’s Chongwen District: Scratching Beneath the Surface of the City