The Great Wall at Huangyaguan
Huangyaguan (Yellow-Crag Pass), is about 130 kilometres east of Beijing. Originally constructed in the 6th century and rebuilt by the Ming Dynasty during the 15th and 16th century, this section of the wall was considered strategically important, and the heavily fortified Huangya (Yellow Crag) Pass was described as "the eastern gate" of the capital city. Thus a variety of fortifications has been constructed, including walls, beacon towers, and a walled fortress attached with an above-water wall. On either side the Great Wall winds its way through rugged hills and over dangerously steep cliffs which descend almost vertically.The scenery is fantastic, a clear blue stream running through the old fortress, which is flanked by high steep hills and overlooked by sheer crags to the west.
The ancient Great Wall of this section had a length of 42 kilometers (about 26 miles), but it suffered extensive damage throughout its long history. In 1987, it was repaired and began to receive tourists.
The Huangyaguan Great Wall possesses many features including antiquity, grandness, steepness and gracefulness, and it is regarded as an 'Impregnable Pass' in Tianjin. This section is the longest restored section of the Great Wall with a length of 3052 meters (about 3337 yards). In 1990 it was named one of the top scenic places in a list of the ten most appealing sceneries to visit in Tianjin.
The Huangyaguan Great Wall has two sections: Huangyaguan and Taipingzhai.
Guancheng (Pass City) is the center of the Huangyaguan section. Guancheng was itself a perfect defensive project and it is also where Bagua Village (The Eight Diagrams Village) is situated. Bagua Village was built in the Ming Dynasty according to the Eight Diagrams created by Fuxi (an ancient tribal leader). It is easy enough to get in, but getting out is another matter as you can easily find yourself in a dead end or just circling around with no obvious way out. It's certainly amazing enough to encourage tourists to have a try!
Taipingzhai is located to the southeast of Huangyaguan. Guafu Tower (Widow Tower) is seated in the west of it. Guafu Tower is a square watchtower. It was said that during the Ming Dynasty 12 widows of frontier soldiers donated their pension and built this tower. People named it Widow Tower as a memorial to these women and their spirit.
The old fortress was carefully restored in 1980s. From a bird's-eye view it's like a specially designed labyrinth. In fact it was built according to a so-called Baguan pattern (an ancient cleverly laid out design). If the enemy attacked, they would get lost within the fortress. Some new features have been added to the original structures, including the Great Wall Museum, the Garden of Longevity and Forest of Steles. The Forest of Steles is usually a collection of engraved stone tablets, inscribed with beautiful writing to convey some kind of culture, like Chinese calligraphy, classical poetry, records of historical events etc. Here on display is also the Chinese calligraphy, but the content is a collection of Mao's poetry. Chairman Mao, the late Chinese leader, was actually a very talented poet as well.
The Huangyaguan International Marathon is annually held here, and a part of the race is on the Great Wall. In addition, hiking along this section of the wall is an exhilarating experience, as the walls here vary in size, shape and building material.
How to get there: It is located in Jixian county 140km north of Tianjin. There are tourist buses available every weekend at the northeast bus station of Tianjin and there are also buses available from the Tianjin Railway Station, but fewer.
Other Surrounding Scenic Spots:
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