Gusaocheng Fort

Gusaocheng Fort, Liaoyang, China

Gusaocheng Fort, Liaoyang, China by Rincewind42. Sourced via Flickr under All rights reserved.

This is an ancient fortification. It is thought that the site has been fortified since the Tang dynasty, over 1000 years ago, however, the current building is thought to date to the Ming dynasty. It was built as part of the defensive structures of Liaodong at the far eastern end of the Great Wall of China. Though not connected to the wall directly, it is part of the same system of fortifications. This is a rare and well preserved/restored fortification of this date. Most of the Liaodong Great Wall of China have been lost to time making this site extra special.

The tower is located at 41.198748,123.421722. It is in Gongchangling County, Liaoyang City, Liaoning, China. Just off of route S106 beside Gusaochengcun village.

Access to the tower can be made along paved but very overgrown paths from Lengredi Park just north of the village. The park keeper will charge you 10 RMB to enter. A path leads up from the back of the park over the ridge to the other half of the park. At the crest of the ridge, there is an off shoot to the left signposted as "Sister-in-law Castle" which I suppose is the translation of the Chinese name.

The castle appears to have been heavily reconstructed. Judging by eye, it is about 10 to 12 metres square and about 2.5 to 3 metres tall. It is set at the end of a low craggy ridge that overlooks the surrounding valley. On the northwest side there are two entrances. The first entrance is a set of steps that lead up the to the roof platform. These steps are exposed on one side with the fort wall on the other. Next to this is a narrow opening in the wall and a second set of steps that run up within the wall, again to the roof platform. There is no internal rooms. The roof is flat with a 3 foot high crenelated wall around the edge. On the northwest and southwest corners there are two L-shaped extensions that jut out from the fort. These seem to provide a flanking protection to the entrance.

The fort is made of local stone, roughly cut. It is of dry stone construction with no original mortar showing, however on the crenelations, some modern mortar can been seen securing the back of the stone work.

The site was used during the Qing dynasty as a Buddhist temple. A temple wall of modern brick forms an enclosure to the southwest of the fort. At the southwest corner of this enclosure there is a small two story bell tower. A number of stele are found here. Two commemorate local families, one has the name of a Japanese army brigade. The Japanese one is broken. There is also a large stone plaque which has writing on both sides. This gives the history of the fort, some legends regarding the fort name and details of the reconstruction and protected site status of the building.

The plaque confirms that the building dates to the Ming dynasty and was built in connection with the Great Wall. It also states that there are document that mention a fortification on this site dating back much further.

Map showing location of Gusaocheng Fort

Above: Location of Gusaocheng Fort in Liaoyang, Liaoning, China