Great Wall in Ningxia
Ningxia is one of China's northwestern regions and is known as the "Museum of Great Wall". Ningxia's northern border is shared with Inner Mongolia, home of the Mongolian tribes that frequently invaded China. Beginning in the Warring States Period (475-221 BC), fortifications were built to defend against the invaders from the north. The construction of the Great Wall continued during the successive dynasties of the Qin, Han, Sui, Tang, finally ending during the Ming Dynasty. The wall in this region was originally 1500 kilometers in length.
The Ningxia portion of the Great Wall consists of two main parts: the Ming wall and the Qin wall. The Ming wall was comprised of the Eastern, Northern and Western sections, tracking along the region's northern border from east to west in a shape of "". The Western part starts from Zhongwei County in the west and runs northeastwardly along the Yellow River until the Helan Mountains. The Eastern section runs through what is now Lingwu County and Yanchi County, then enters Shaanxi. The Northern part connects the Eastern and Western parts like the horizontal bar of "".
The terrain in the southern part of Ningxia features high plateaus. The northern part of Ningxia features mountains. The Qin wall was built across the southern part from east to west. The wall was built on steep mountain ridges and along river gorges to make good use of these natural barriers. The earth was tamped to serve as a solid foundation and to this day, no plants can grow upon it. Many lives were lost during its construction but it did help bring people some peace and tranquility throughout the historical periods. Remains of the Qin wall can still be found today in Xiji County and Guyuan County.
A few sections of the wall in Ningxia have remained in good shape through the ages. In Guyuan County, a ruin of the Inner Great Wall and the city wall are in very good shape, comparable to the condition of the former city wall of Beijing.