Great Wall

Great Wal
The world famous Great Wall of China, also known as the Ten Thousand Li Wall in China, runs 6,000 kilometers (about 3,700 miles) from the east to the west, through immense deserts, high mountains and vast grasslands in northern part of China. The Great Wall, like the Pyramids of Egypt, the Taj Mahal in India and the Hanging Garden of Babylon, is one of the great wonders of the world. The watch towers, beacon towers, passes and garrison castles along the Great Wall add more magnificence to this crystallization of wisdom and strength of the ancient Chinese people.

Great Wall
The construction of the Wall to be the defensive fortification dates back to the year of 656 B.C. It's continued throughout the Warring States period in the fifth Century B.C. as the co-existing states at that time were frequently plundered by the nomadic peoples living north of China. So in order to avoid of their invasions, different states had their separate walls built. Later in 221 B.C., when Emperor Qin Shi Huang conquered the other states and unified China, he ordered to have the individual walls linked up and further extended to form the basis of the present Great Wall. Historical records have that the about one million people, one-fifth of Chinese population ar that time, were involved in the project. In the next few centuries, succeeding dynasties rebuilt parts of the Wall. The largest scale of reinforcements and renovations were carried out in the Ming Dynasty (1368--1644), after the Ming emperor Zhu yuanzhang drove the Mongol Yuan ruler from the throne and established the Ming dynasty with its capital in Nanjing. To ensure the security of the northern territories from the remnant Mongol forces, he orders to build the wall at the Juyong pass and other strategic points. it is mostly the Ming Dynasty Wall that visitors see today.

Great Wall
The Great Wall includes two sections, the east and west, with Shanxi Province as the dividing line. The west part is a rammed earth construction, about 5.3 meters high on average. In the eastern part, the core of the Wall is rammed earth as well, but the outer shell is coated with bricks and rocks. The most imposing and best preserved sections of the Great Wall are at Badaling and Mutianyu, not far from Beijing and both are open to visitors. The Wall of these sections is 7.8 meters high and 6.5 meters wide at its base, and 5.8 meters on the ramparts, wide enough for five horses or ten soldiers to walk abreast. Two-storied watch-towers are built at approximately 400-meters internals. The top stories of the watch-tower were designed for watching the enemies' activities, while the first was used for storing grain, fodder, military equipments and gunpowder as well as where garrison soldiers lived; beacon towers were erected on both sides of the wall, mostly at the top of the mountains or the twists and turns of the ground to signal warning messages with smoke during the day and fire at night. The parapets built on the inner side are about one meter high and on the outer side are battlements of two-meter high with embrasures for shooting through.

Great Wall
Badaling Section: the best preserved part of the whole wall. "Bada" means convenient transportation to all directions, and "ling" means mountain or valley. It used to be the most important place to protect Beijing. The highest point here is over 800 meters (2,624 feet) above sea level. It's strategically situated and difficult of access can be described as "If one man guards the pass, ten thousands can't get through". The wall is high and solid with huge stone slabs and filled with hardened earth and rocks. The 3-meter-long and 1,000-kilograms-weight slab was extremely difficult to be carried up to the mountain. it said that the main working force for the construction was composed of soldiers defending the frontier, exiles, criminals and local laborers, who had to carry with their bare backs and shoulders by baskets and poles. Rolling logs and crowbars were also used. It took thousands of workers half a year to build only 200 meters, and many labors died of hard toils and were buried on the spot together with the bricks and slabs. thus the Great wall also has another name” longest cemetery in the world”.

Mutianyu Section: It lies northwest of Huairou County, 70 kilometers from downtown Beijing. To its east is Gubeikou and its west is Juyong pass. it owns two unique features: double sides battlements and branch walls. Battlements of the other sections of the wall are only on the outer side and parapets on the inner side, but here are on both sides; besides, protrusions are arranged meters or dozen meters long, on which the watch towers were built, thus the "branch wall". Different from the others, the harmony and quietness with beautiful sceneries are its most attractive aspect, as compared with Badaling section, Mutianyu is a little far from downtown Beijing, thus accommodates less visitors than the former and accordingly adds more tranquility to it.

Great Wall
Jinshanling Section: This section runs from Miyun County in Beijing to Luanping County in Hebei province, totally 133 kilometers from downtown Beijing. Watch towers are arranged every 100 meters, and in some places the interval is only 50-60 meters. It's really seen this density along the whole length of Great Wall, The tight fortification and heavy defense mark the feature of Jinshanling wall; barrier wall running on the top of the wall perpendicular to the battlements with peepholes and arrow holes are 2.5 meters high, which would be used as the second block of defense if the enemy should have climbed up the wall.

Simatai Section: It's 120 kilometers away from downtown Beijing, with a length of 19 kilometers and 35 watch towers. The design of this section of the wall contributed a lot to the study of military affairs and construction art at that time, as the wall here was built on sheer cliffs. Some sections are so narrow that only a single side of wall could be built on the range,which was called "single-side wall". Some parts almost rise vertically, thus accordingly named "Heavenly Ladder" by the local people.

Great Wall
There stand 14 major passes (Guan, in Chinese) at places of strategic importance along the Great Wall, the most important being Shanghaiguan and Jiayuguan. Yet the most impressive one is Juyongguan, about 50 kilometers northwest of Beijing.

Known as "Tian Xia Di YI Guan" (The First Pass under Heaven), Shanghaiguan Pass is situated between two sheer cliffs forming a neck connecting north China with the northeast. It had been, therefore, a key junction contested by all strategists and many famous battles were fought here; Jiayuguan Pass was not so much as the "Strategic pass Under the Heaven" as an important communication center in Chinese history. Cleft between the snow-capped Qilian Mountains and the rolling Mazong Mountains, it was on the ancient Silk Road.

Great Wall
As a cultural heritage, the Wall belongs not only to China but to the world. The Great Wall is the largest of such historical and cultural architecture, and that is why it continues to be so attractive to people all over the world. In 1987, the Wall was listed by UNESCO as a world cultural heritage site.

Tips of visiting the Great Wall:

1. Badaling section of the wall is the most popular among the all, which usually attracts more visitors daily. Especially during the peak season of traveling, the crowds on the wall make it busier than usual, and you would feel crowded and hard to move on sometimes; so watch the steps always and don’t forget to find somewhere without "people's heads" to take a picture on the wall.

2. The other section of the wall also owns beautiful scenery, but relatively less crowds compared with the Badaling; but some sections has been over repaired thus made it lost some original flavor. The path on the wall is not really even since the time changes and travelers' steps on time and time again, ramps and steps take turns to make the way, somewhere is really physically-challenging with a big ramp or dozens of steps at once. Wheelchairs are not accessible for the steps and big ramp, so people who really can’t walk or move on their own are almost impossible to get on the platforms before some facilities installed someday (cable cars available if needed and possible) .But it’s OK to look at the magnificent view of the wall from the entrance and having a picture taken with the wall behind you would be very eye-catching..

3. A lot of souvenirs are for sale in the Badaling section. The quality is flexible but it's interesting to bargain and get some small stuff from the venders.

4. Restroom use before the climbing is very necessary, as no restroom facilities available on the wall. Soft shoes are quite necessary, sun-glasses and anti-sun lotion is necessities in the sunny days,

5. Cable car is available for going up and coming down, either a single trip or round trip. so if possible, the physically challenging people can make use of the cable to make their way to the top.(extra tickets required).