|The interior of the archery or arrow tower at Dongbianmen shows its unique shape. The normal archery tower is straight. Construction began in 1436 and was finished in 1440. At that time, this was the southeast corner of the Beijing city wall.
During the 1540s, Mongol raids from the north threatened the capital. In 1550, the Altan Khan reached the suburbs of Beijing before being rousted. Immediately, the government ordered an additional wall to be built. The Outer City was enclosed by walls in a project that began in 1550. While most of the project was completed in 1557, defensive gates similar to the arrow tower here at Dongbianmen 东便门, were not completed until 1564. The expansion of the walls to include the Outer City meant that Dongbianmen was no longer the southeast corner of the entire wall, but is still considered to be the southeast corner of the Inner or Tartar City.
Last update: May 2011
© Marilyn Shea, 2011