Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China, as it is called, is undoubtedly one of the most wonderful monuments ever made by mankind. Stretching approximately 6,700 kilometres from east to west of China, the Great Wall snakes up and down across the undulating topography, like a gigantic dragon.
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||All-time wonder, Largest construction undertaken ever|
|Best Time To Visit
|Best Moment To Visit
||Early morning or late afternoon|
||Various architectural influences|
||Approximately 6,700 kilometres|
The Great Wall offers a timeless charm to tourists, but scenery varies with seasons. Visit it in different time you will get a quite different scene. In spring, when trees and plants begin to turn green, the wall wonders among the lush vegetation. Every thing looks so fresh. It is a good time to avoid the crowd tourists in summer and autumn.
Summer comes, the booming flowers and colored leaves cover the mountains. The Great Wall snakes its way like a silver necklace. What a nice sight!
When fall comes, the mountains are blanketed by colors, creating an amazing view and the weather during this time is pleasant. This season could be the best season to visit.
The mountains and the wall itself are covered with snow in winter, offering an awesome snowy scene. The weather in this time of the year will be frozenly cold and tourists are fewer. It is the best time to get the whole view of the wall.
Why To Visit
» The Great Wall is one of the all-time wonders of the planet.
» Most famous and magnificent monument of China.
» The greatest construction work ever carried out.
Fine Points of The Great Wall
» Made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
» Unique fortification combined with natural barriers.
» Many sections provide breathtaking scenic views.
» Climbing the Wall conjures up sense of thrill and adventure.
» Gives glimpses of the times of Ancient China.
The Great Wall Travel Hotspots
Though the Great Wall is gorgeous and graceful all through its journey, some of its sections have been more popular among tourists. The Great Wall tourist hotspots.
Best preserved section of the Great Wall provides amazing, fantastic and breath-taking vistas. Known for its completeness and imposing structures, this section of the Great Wall is closest to Beijing (only 60 km) and it is imperatively on the itinerary of every tourist visiting the Chinese capital.
The section is located just 11 kilometres away from the scenic Juongguan Pass. Great Wall Museum, Great Wall National Theatre, Badaling Great Wall Cableway and other tourism facilities are also established in this section. Dotted with strategic watchtowers and defended by a fortress, the landscape along this section changes every season.
A perfect choice for hiking lovers and adventurers, this section has steep precipices on either side, a reservoir and charming wide flowers. This section has earned the nickname of Yellow Flower Great Wall, thanks to the profusion of beautiful yellow flowers here in the summer season.
Located in the vicinity of Huairou city, snaking its way above the interminable peaks, and finally fading into the horizon, the Wall seemingly challenges the climbers to discover its mysteries.
Huangyaguan Taipingzhai Wall
Taking pride in its appealing sceneries, this section, also known as 'Yellow Cliff' has earned the sobriquet 'the impregnable pass'. Attraction of this section include :
Widow Tower : A square watchtower, it commemorates the sacrifice of widows of frontier soldiers who donated their pension to build this tower.
Huangyaguan Mueusm: It tells about the historical development of the Great Wall. The arms and belongings of Ming dynasty soldiers are also exhibited.
Stele Forest : Inscriptions here display the calligraphy of Chairman Mao, some New China generals and modern calligraphers.
Marathon Race : Being held since 2000, the Race has made this section of the Great Wall very popular. More than thousand participants from over 30 countries zealously take part in this race every year.
Phoenix Fortress and Beiji Temple are two other tourist destinations of the area.
Renowned for its magnificent castle, Jayuguan is the best preserved of all Great Wall passes. In ancient days, it's prestige rested as a key passageway of the Silk Road.
The castle, which holds its place as a magnificent architectural complex, commanding sweeping views of Gobi Desert and snow-carpeted Qulian Mountains. The roofs exuding grandeur are upturned at the end of the ridges while towers and pavilions are glittering examples of classic beauty.
Jiankou Wall (Arrow Lock)
Use of white rocks in construction and natural beauty makes Jiankou Wall special. Located 73 kms north off Beijing, it hosts several tourist attractions like 'The Eagle Flies Facing Upward', Sky Stairs, Beijing Knot, Nine-eye Tower, Zhengbei Tower and Cloud Stairs.
The Eagle Flies Facing Upward : An extremely high watchtower built at the summit of this section. If a flying eagle desires to sit atop it, it can only do so by flying upwards. Hence the name.
Sky Stairs : These are stairs with dangerously steep inclination. The climber hardly has space to put his feet properly.
Beijing Knot : This is the point where three different sections of the Great Wall converge.
Nine-eye Tower : A watchtower with nine holes.
Zhengbei Tower : A tower which provides fascinating vistas of sunrise and sunset.
Cloud Stairs : A section of the Wall which rises steeply.
If you want to soak in ancient China, this is the place. Lying in the mountainous area of Hebei province, an ex military stronghold, the section is known for complicated and well-preserved fortification systems and picturesque natural vistas.
150 kilometres off Beijing, this section is ideal for the tourists who want to enjoy the Great Wall sightseeing but avoids the crowds of Badaling.
A 3-kilometer section of the Wall is bathed after dark in colored light, making a grand "Night Great Wall".
Known for best quality among all Wall sections, Mutianyu Wall is situated at 70km north-east of Beijing. It is well-connected with Gubeikou Gateway in the east and Juyongguan Pass in the west. Built with granite, this section is encased by sprightly streams and lush greenery.
Aptly known as the Museum of the Great Wall, Shanhaiguan is the place one can find :
» Old Dragon's Head (the only part of the Great Wall that meets the sea)
» Number One Pass Under Heaven (the first pass of the Great Wall),
» Jia Shan (the first mountain the Great Wall climbs)
» Jiumenkou (the only part of the Great Wall in the shape of a bridge)
» Ancient Meng Jiang-Nu Temple
» Shanhaiguan Great Wall Museum
Needless to say, a tour of the Great Wall is not over without a visit to Shanhaiguan, located north of Qinhuangdao city.
Unique design, invigorating scenery and precipitous topography make the Simatai Wall an ideal place for sightseeing, hiking and exploration.
This section, situated 120km off Beijing, stands out as the only section which preserves the marks of Ming dynasty. Densely dotted with beacon towers, the precipitous Wall can make the climbers shudder with fear. Other attractions include Mandarin Duck Springs, Watching Beijing Tower, Fairy Tower, Heavenly Ladder and Sky Bridge.
Mandarin Duck Springs : Two springs, one cold and one warm, join into one lake. Making a unique half cold-half warm waterbody. In winters, steam rising from the lake makes a marvelous spectacle.
Watching Beijing Tower : The highest cultural relic in Beijing, it is the summit of the Simatai Wall. Provides vistas of faintly shimmering lights of downtown Beijing. Bricks used are stamped with the date when they were made.
Fairy Tower : Known as an architectural masterpiece, it is most enchanting of all towers. Twin lotus flowers above the arched doors enhance its beauty.
Heavenly Ladder : With seventy degree inclines and steep drop-offs, it can make even the 'lions' shudder.
Sky Bridge : 100 metre long bridge connecting the Watching Beijing Tower to the Fairy Tower. Having a cabined width of mere 40 centimetre, it can give even the most brave the feeling of vertigo.
The most popular legend associated with the Wall connects itself with this section. And commemorating the heroine of the legend are two black rocky reefs and a temple, on the shore of the Bohai Sea, beyond Shanhaiguan Pass.
The Story : A recently married youth named Fan Xiliang was forced by the emperor to work on the site. His beloved wife Men Jiangnu waited for his return for five years, but to no avail. One night, Men had a fearful dream. She rushed to the site, but found that her husband had already died and was buried under the Great Wall. At the side of the Wall, she cried and cried, and to everybody's astonishment, the Wall collapsed!
Sheer structure of the Great Wall lends it the credentials to become an all-time wonder. Stretching over six thousand kilometres, materials easily available locally have been used for its construction.
Quarried limestone is put to good use near Beijing, while in some locations, granite of baked bricks were utilised. While using such materials, two finished walls are erected with packed earth and rubble fill placed in between with a final paving which coalesced all the parts as a single unit.
In some areas, mixture of egg whites and sticky rice was used to cement the blocks. In desert locations, amidst shifting sands, rough wood was strapped with woven mats and dirt thrust in between.
Sophisticated defense system was created along the wall comprising garrison towns, posts, passes, additional wall structures, watchtowers and beacon towers. Every accompaniment structure had its own value and status.
» Contrary to the popular belief of the Great Wall being a single structure, it actually consists of number of walls built during the times of different dynasties. Built with the objective of frustrating the designs of armed tribal intruders, the first major fortification was built during the reign Qin Shi Huangdi, a Qin dynasty ruler (around 208 BC).
» The second major wall came into being under the reign of Han dynasty (1st century BC).
» The third remarkable construction took place under Sui dynasty (7th century). Fourth round of major fortificitation was during 1138-1198, which is also known as Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period.
» Most part of the Great Wall, as it is today, was built in the times of Ming dynasty (1368-1640).
Making of the Wall
» Length approximately 6,700 kilometres
» From Shanhai Pass on the Bohai Gulf (east) to Jiayu Pass in Gansu province (west)
» Average height of the wall 8 meters (26 feet)
» Some 6.5 meters (21.3 feet) wide at the base
» Tapering to 5.8 meters ( 19 feet) at the top.
» Optimum use of natural barriers like mountains, rivers and sheer cliff faces.
Mr. Richard Nixon (Ex US President), visiting the Great Wall in 1972.
"It sure is a great wall."
» Some sections of the Wall can test your fitness.
» It would be better to have sufficient stock of water with you.
» It is advisable to have a guide while not travelling with an organised tourist group.
||Badaling (70km)Through road; Cable car available|
||Jiankou (73km) Through road|
||Mutianyu (79km)Through road; Cable car available|
||Simatai (120km)Through road; Cable car available|
||Jinshanling (120km)Through road|
||Huanghuacheng; Through road; Via bus to Huairao, then take taxi|
||Shanhaiguan (15km)Through road|
||Weeping Wall; Through road|
|Via Jayuguan, Gansu Province
||Jayuguan Pass; Through road|
||Huanyaguang Taipingzhai; Through road|