This beautiful watchtower, originally built in 1436, is Beijing’s only remaining corner tower and lies at the far eastern end of the last surviving stretch of Beijing’s city wall, in the Ming City Wall Ruins Park.
The park is free to enter, but you have to pay to climb the corner tower. It’s well worth the ¥10, though. Not only do you get great views of the old wall stretching off into the distance, and the chance to see the wonderful wood-beamed structure inside the tower, but you also gain entrance to the Red Gate Gallery, which includes a fascinating permanent photo exhibition, displaying 1930s photographs of Beijing’s city wall and city gates. Captions are translated into English and there are old city maps to help you place the images on display.
The Southeast Corner Watchtower used to be known as the Fox Tower, on account of local belief that the tower was haunted by fox spirits. Famously, this was where the body of young Englishwomen Pamela Werner was found after she was brutally murdered here in 1937. The hapless investigation that followed is detailed in Paul French’s gripping book, Midnight in Peking. The book’s website includes a fascinating walking tour of this one-time ‘Badlands’ district of the city.