Baimaguan Fort, built during the Ming Dynasty, rests north of Beijing city not far from the Miyun Reservoir of the Great Wall. The fort features more than 500 stunning guard and beacon towers, and the area also boasts famous forts such as Qiangzilu and Gubeikou. Centuries after their construction, however, ruins are all that remain of most of these structures including Baimaguan.
Visitor may also visit Baimaguan Fort along with a nearby small town named Fanzipai. Built in the period of Emperor Yongle (1402-1424) of the Ming Dynasty, little of the original structure remains today except for the south gate. It is an arched gate, 120 meters wide and 80 meters deep.
The Chinese characters “Bai Ma Guan Bao” are inscribed on a stone tablet above the arch, one that is rather unique from those found at other forts, in that the 4 characters are arranged vertically in 4 lines: "Bai Ma" on the right and "Guan Bao" on the left. Other stone-inscribed characters are typically set horizontally and read left to right. Baima means "white horse."
According to local legend, many years ago, a fierce and strong white horse lived in the Muyun section, terrorizing the local villagers. One day, Yang Yanzo, a famous general of the Song Dynasty (960-1279), saw the horse playing in the river. He jumped onto the horse's back and succeeded in taming it after a long struggle.
From then on, General Yang rode the horse into every battle he fought. At that time, the kingdom of Liao frequently invaded the Song's northern frontier. In order to stop the Liao's intrusion, General Yang left the horse on the Great Wall. When invading Liao soldiers saw it, they quickly retreated because they thought General Yang and his troops were stationed there. That noble story is how the fort got its name.
Beside the gate, there are 2 sections of walls that once surrounded the fort still standing: Yidaobian and Erdaobian. Erdaobian is the outer wall, including eastern and western sections. The eastern part is only about 50 meters long, terminating near a cliff, while the 200-meter western part extends along a 40 to 50 degree slope near which the remains of 2 guard towers can be made out. A little way south of Erdaobian is Yidaobian, the main body of the Baimaguan Great Wall.