So much has been written and published about the Great Wall of China. However, one thing is certain. If you travel to China without visiting this world-renowned landmark, your trip is incomplete. The history of the famous wall is difficult to comprehend. However, it is said the wall construction began in the warring states period in the early seventh century BC. The Great Wall of China is one of the artificial wonders of the world which symbolizes China’s greatness.
With a lifespan of over a thousand years, the Great Wall was built to protect the villages from the invasion of the northern tribes. This provided a stable life, culture and government. The history of this wall contributed to China’s growth in terms of political, economy, culture and tourism. The Great Wall extends approximately 6700 kilometers across deserts, and plateaus from China’s border to the Hun territories in the north. The beauty of the magnificent wall is such that you cannot appreciate its beauty except climbing it step by step. It is better seen from an aerial perspective if you are on a plane or helicopter.
In ancient times, it was called the Wall of ten thousand li (a li is one third of a mile) and its construction started as earth works built for the protection of the different kingdoms. Each kingdom had its own wall section; like in the east, the wall was built out of stones and bricks, while the section in the western part of China was built with less durable materials. The individual sections of the wall were later renovated and connected to one another during the Qin dynasty (221 – 206 BC) when Emperor Qin recruited peasants, soldiers and farmers to work on the wall. This tradition continued for centuries until each dynasty added to the wall’s height, length and design through forced labor. The wall has now become a major landmark for China tourists.
The Great Wall of China can be climbed in a variety of ways, serving different purposes. The four main sections best suited to climbing and sightseeing are the Badaling section, Mutianyu section, Simatai section and Shixiaguan section. The Great Wall at Badaling became a strategic point since the Warring States period. Being the first section of the wall to be opened to tourists, it has recorded 140 million visitors who have climbed successively. This section was built with huge bar stones weighing hundreds of kilograms with watch towers at every distance. These watch towers were used as deployment points for the military in the past. This section of the wall is very crowded because it is the most visited section.
The Simatai Great Wall is located northeast of Beijing. Its construction started in the Ming dynasty and measures around 5.4 kilometers with 35 watch towers. This section of the wall retained its original features and has earned the reputation of being the prettiest section of the wall. Unlike the other sections, the Simatai section of the Great Wall is very quiet and remote. This has challenged many hikers to climb this section in their quest for adventure.
The Mutianyu section of the Great Wall is the best preserved. This is very meaningful in Chinese military history. This section has cable cars installed allowing tourists to move from one end to end. It is slightly rugged and green, making it the greenest part of the wall. The Mutianyu section is noted as the essence of the Great Wall because of the distinct style and construction of this part. Shixiaguan Great Wall is the most part of the great wall opened to visitors. It still shows the ruins of some old constructions from ancient times.
In conclusion, the Great Wall of China is definitely a must-see on your next trip to China. In order for you to enjoy your tour around the wall, it is advisable to consult a tour operator in China to assist you with the itinerary.