The Great Wall of China
Visiting the Great Wall of China from Beijing
China’s most famous attraction, the Great Wall of China is perhaps the only sight in China that is absolutely guaranteed to capture the imagination of everyone. The Great Wall of China stretches some 6700km from where it meets the Pacific Ocean at Shanhaiguan, along the southern border of Inner Mongolia to Jiayuguan (Gansu Province) in the west. Many sections of the wall have now disappeared or are little more than earthen mounds. The parts of the Great Wall just north of Beijing are the most convenient sections to visit and also the best restored. They are touristy (countless souvenir stalls, restaurants, some hotels and a multitude of hawkers have set up camp at the restored sections) and some complain about a lack of authenticity. But, if nothing else, they give you a very real sense of the sheer magnitude and willpower of the project.
Walls were built as defense mechanisms in China as early as the Warring States Period (5th Century BC -221BC), when the rival powers used earth and gravel to create boundaries between their respective realms. But the Great Wall first appeared in the modern sense, as a defense against invaders from the north, once China was unified by Qin Shi Huang in 221BC. The wall was expanded, reinforced and new sections were added by successive dynasties, but the Great Wall of China as it exists today is a Ming Dynasty creation, with planning and construction starting in earnest from the mid 15th Century. The Wall served its purpose of holding off Manchurian and Mongol invaders for some 200 years. And in the end it was only breached with inside assistance. Once the Qing Dynasty was established and Manchuria and Mongolia became part of the Chinese empire, the Great Wall lost its purpose.
The Great Wall of China at Badaling
The most accessible and most visited section of the Great Wall of China is at Badaling, about 70km north-west of Beijing. Full details about getting there and the Badaling experience… (Read more…)
The Great Wall of China at Mutianyu
A little further from Beijing (90km to the north-west) than Badaling, but relatively accessible compared to Simatai and Jinshanling. Full details about getting there and the Mutianyu experience… (Read more…)
The Great Wall of China at Simatai
The most dramatic and stunning section of the Great Wall, Simatai is characterized by incredibly sharp inclines. Full details about getting there and the Simatai experience… (Read more…)
The Great Wall of China at Jinshanling
Jinshanling is best known as the starting point for the 10km hike along the Great Wall to Simatai: the best way to experience the Great Wall. Full details about getting there and doing the trek… (Read More…)