Great Wall of China, is one of the largest building-construction projects ever undertaken. The Great Wall actually consists of numerous walls—many of them parallel to each other—built over some two millennia across northern China and southern Mongolia. The most extensive and best-preserved version of the wall dates from the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) and runs for some 5,500 miles (8,850 km) east to west from Mount Hu near Dandong, southeastern Liaoning province, to Jiayu Pass west of Jiuquan, northwestern Gansu province. This wall often traces the crestlines of hills and mountains as it snakes across the Chinese countryside, and about one-fourth of its length consists solely of natural barriers such as rivers and mountain ridges. Nearly all of the rest (about 70 percent of the total length) is actual constructed wall, with the small remaining stretches constituting ditches or moats. Although lengthy sections of the wall are now in ruins or have disappeared completely, it is still one of the more remarkable structures on Earth. The Great Wall was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987.
Some facts about the Great Wall of China
- The total length of the Great Wall is 21196.18 km. The Great Wall is the largest man-made project in the world. The complete route is over 20,000 km, stretching from the east seaside to the west desert in northern China, winding up and down across mountains and plateaus like a dragon.
- There are 15 strategic passes from the East to the West. The Great Wall stretches across 15 northern Chinese provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions, from the Bohai Sea in the east to the Gobi Desert, 2,500 kilometers away in the west. There are 15 geographically important passes built along the route.
- It took over 2,000 years to construct the wall.
- It is not a wall but a series of fortifications. The Great Wall is not a single-structured wall, it includes beacon towers, barriers, barracks, garrison stations, and fortresses along the walls, together forming an integrated defense system.
- Various materials were used to build the Great Wall. The Great Wall is a massive monument built with different materials. Most of the sections we see today were built with bricks and cut stone blocks, and lime mortar was used to hold the bricks together.
- The eastern beginning in the sea: Shanhai Pass. Shanhai Pass was a fortress built in the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644) and is the first pass in the East of China. It is located outside of Qinhuangdao City on Bohai Bay and 305 km away from Beijing. Given its strategic location, it’s reputed as the “First pass under heaven”.
- The western end in the Gobi Desert: Jiayu Pass. Jiayu Pass is famous for being the first frontier fortress at the western end of the Great Wall of China in the Ming Dynasty. Among the hundreds of passes of the Great Wall, Jiayu Pass is one of the most well-preserved passes in existence.
- An ancient tale of love: the legend of lady Mengjiang. It’s one of the four greatest love legends in ancient China. Lady Mengjiang’s husband was sent to build the Great Wall, and never gave news. She departed to bring winter clothes to him but heard that he had already died. She weeped so bitterly that part of the wall collapsed.
- The workers from ancient times left marks on the bricks
- It is Chinese people’s greatest cultural icon. The Great Wall is the product of countless labors over a period of 2,000 years, and is a feast of engineering. It also reflected the collision and exchanges between the agricultural and nomadic civilizations.
There are several locations where you can go and see the great wall in Beijing; Badailing, Mutianyu, Jinshanling and Simatai. Badailing is the most famous and most visited. Mutianyu is the furthest frome Beijing and less crowded. Because we planned to go straight to airport, Mr Meng (Miles Transport) suggested us to go to Mutianyu Great Wall.
Kevinm our driver/guide from Mr Meng’s company picked us up after breakfast. Kevin speaks fluent english and very friendly. He helped us purchasing the ticket and told us to just we chat him when we were ready to be picked up.
We purchased the ticket for chair lift and tobogan. We thought the tobogan part would be scary but the chair lift part turned out to be more scary.
The chairlift took us to the top where we can start exploring. The place is massive and there are lots and lots of stairs. Better wear your running shoes or walking shoes if you plan to come here.
July is actually a peak of summer but we were lucky that the day we went was slightly cooler. Maybe it was also because we were in the mountain area.
After a lot of walking up and down the stairs we decided to do some yoga for stretching lol.
Our flight to Zhangjiajie was at 6.25pm with Air China, so at 2.30pm we descended down using the toboggan. It was a fun way going down and was not so scary because we could control the speed. We had a quick lunch at the fast food restaurant before heading to airport.
Kevin was really helpful, he didn’t only drop us at the airport but he also walked with us to the check-in area. Because we purchased the ticket thru Expedia we could not do online check-in and had to queue.
Our flight would land in Zhangjiajie at 9.15pm where we would be picked up by a driver arranged by Kelly, our travel agent in Zhangjiajie.