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Having come to symbolize China, The Great Wall owns high status like the old saying that one who fails to reach the Great Wall is not a hero, and was listed as world cultural heritage in 1987 by UNESCO.
Serving as the purpose of defense mostly, it went through different dynasties for destruction and construction, especially in Qin and Ming dynasty. Now with several sections of the Great Wall survived for tourists sightseeing to marvel at the massive architecture.
The Great Wall
The Great Wall also called “the Ten-Thousand-Li-Long Wall” (one “Li” is half a kilometer), which could be 5,000 km long. In fact, the length was far more than that from ancient times, while since there were some destruction and only some parts of the wall existing now, the total length of the Great Wall is about 8,850 km.
Though several walls were built in the early 7th century BC, people are more likely to refer to as the Great Wall, which were built between 220–206 BC by the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang.
After unified China in 221 BC, Qin Shi Huang ordered to build a new wall to connect the remaining fortifications along the empire's northern frontier, in order to against the Xiongnu minority from the north. Sadly, there were little of that wall remains.
Since Qin dynasty, the Great Wall has been rebuilt on and off, Ming dynasty was as well. Unlike the earlier fortifications, the construction of Ming was stronger and more elaborate due to the use of bricks and stone instead of rammed earth. Therefore, the majority of the existing wall is from the Ming Dynasty. Throughout the whole Ming era, Great Wall was built continuously for over 6,000 km.
With 50 miles northwest of Beijing downtown, Badaling Great Wall section is the best persevered and first opened to tourists among all survival Great Wall sections built in Ming dynasty. As the most visited section, the highlight is the 7 km popular stretching Great Wall.
Best time to go: April, May, September and October are the best months to go.
Badaling Great Wall Section
In the 70 km northeast of central Beijing, Mutianyu Great Wall is another well-preserved section with beautiful scenery. Used to serve as the northern barrier defending the capital and the imperial tombs, it has strong wall construction with 7–8.5 meters high and 4–5 meters wide. Covered with most forest along sides, those historical relics of watchtowers are the most features.
Best time to go: Spring and Summer are great seasons to visit the magnificent of Mutianyu Great Wall section with different nature.
Mutianyu Great Wall Section
With 125 km northeast away from Beijing city, Jinshanling Great Wall built in Ming dynasty, stretches about 10.5 kilometers long by starting from the Wangjinglou Tower in the east and ends at Gubeikou in the west. Though, Jinshanling section has been restored, it still keeps the authentic and amazing views. With fantastic wall and some challenge steep steps, this section has not too touristy and perfect for tourists who enjoy peace and beautiful scenic.
Best time to go: any season is suitable to experience the pristine Great Wall and dramatic mountain views.
Jinshanling Great Wall Section
>> 4 Days Classic Beijing Tour Package (Badaling Section)
>> 6 Days In-depth Great Wall Tour (Mutianyu/jinshanling Section)
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[Important] Travel News for Expats: China travel is reopening now! Travel with China Discovery and learn about where to visit & requirements for each destination! Read Details >