Tiemen Pass is located 8 kilometers (approximately 5 miles) from
Korla City, in the northern suburbs. It is one of the 26 famous
passes in China, and acquired the name 'Iron Gate' for it is solid
and firm just like an iron gate.
The pass is part of an arduous section of the Silk Roadwhich one needed to travel to reach Tarim Basin (located in
Xinjiang, the largest interior basin in China). The pass lies in
Tieguan Gorge which has been a strategic location since ancient
times. A famous poet named Cen Sen in the Tang Dynasty (618-907)
once wrote a poem depicting the steepness of the pass. In his poem
the gate is a place where people worry seriously about how to pass
through, and where persons are rarely seen. Looking upwards, you
can only see the cliff; looking downwards, the torrential water
rushes with waves churning in Kongque River.
Many tourists come to visit the gate because they are attracted by
a famous love story. The story is set in ancient time and tells of
love between a princess and the son of a minister. They fell in
love but this is opposed by the King, the father of the princess,
and the King's evil advisor. Under pressure from the King and
persecution by the advisor, a final tragedy happens: The princess
and the young man suffered so much that together they ultimately
leaped to their death into Kongque River. In order to commemorate
the two youngsters who sacrificed their life for love and freedom,
a tumulus where they are buried together was built on the Gongzhu
Ling opposite the gate.
Nowadays, the gate is no longer a place where persons are rarely
seen. It was rebuilt in 1989 according to the ancient descriptions.
As a result of the efforts of architects, sculptors, and artists,
the gate has become an example of excellent architecture which
attracts some 300,000 tourists every year.
Transportation: there are tourist buses in the urban districts in
Korla which can take you directly to the gate.