San guan kou is the place I ended up yesterday. It is situated on the border between Ningxia and Inner Mongolia. it lies about 40 kilometres South West of Yinchuan which is the Capitol of Ningxia.
San guan kou means three passes, three gates or three points. It lies in the Southern part of the Helan mountain range that acts as a natural barrier from invaders from the West. To the West is the mighty and desolate Tengger desert. To the East is the fruitful Ningxia province and what was once home to the Xi Xia Kingdom.
Early in the 13th century, Genghis Khan led his horsemen on a campaign to destroy their civilisation. Genghis led his soldiers more than 300 kilometres through the Tengger desert before attacking the Xi Xia people from the San guan kou pass. You can read more about his campaign here.
The Xi Xia kingdom was totally wiped out by Genghis and his men. Very little is known about this Kingdom today apart from the Xi Xia tombs that lie only a few hours walk away from the pass. I will be passing these tombs shortly.
The satellite imagery of this area is very good, so if you want to have some fun, go to the Great Wall Route page, and zoom in on one of the two last blue blobs. You zoom in by pressing the + (plus) sign on the map. To move the map, simply click and drag the map around.
The top one is at San guan kou. The next one will show you the enormous wind mill park I walked past a few days ago. You can actually see the shadows of the massive windmills on the satellite pictures! You can quite easily follow the Great Wall between the two points as the wall is so massive in this section, it shows up really well.