Great Wall travel guide
The Great Wall is the most identifiable symbol of China, as well as its long and bright history. This monumental structure consists of numerous walls and fortifications, many of which are parallel to each other. Originally, the main aim of the Great Wall was the protection against nomadic raids by the emperor Qin Shi Huangdi (about 259-210 BC). The Great Wall has become one of the most grandiose construction projects in the history of mankind. Each guest of China considers it necessary to visit the Great Wall. Millions of visitors pass through its stones every year.
The most visited site of the Great Wall is Badaling, 60 kilometers from Beijing. The length of the wall in this place is about 50 kilometers. Entrance fee: Y45. Opening hours: 6-22 in the summer, 7-18 in the winter. The ticket includes a 15-minute film about the construction of a wall in the Circle Vision Theatre and a visit of the Great Wall Museum. You can get this place by bus 919. In addition, there are so-called tourist routes: Line C (Y80, from 6.30 to 22); Line A, which makes a stop at the Ming Tombs (Y140 including all entrance tickets and lunch, from 6.30 to 22).
The second most popular site of the wall is Mutianyu. It is 90 kilometers north of Beijing. It is open to visitors from 6:30 to 18:00, and the entrance here costs a little less – 35 yuan. This part of the wall is in a mountainous area, so in order to climb, you will have to use a cable car, which costs 50 yuan in both ways. The main advantage of this part of the wall is that it is located in a very picturesque place, and there are less people than in Badaling. So, if you want to make some beautiful photos, this place is the most suitable. You should take the bus 916 to reach it.
The third popular place is Simatai, which is 110 kilometers to the north-east of Beijing and has a length of 4.5 kilometers. The entrance costs 30 yuan, and it is open from 8:00 to 17:00. To climb the wall you also need to ride a cable car, the cost of which is 50 yuan in both ways. You can get to Simatai by buses 970 and 980. Here are not many visitors, as this place demand great physical training. However, there are two particularly amazing places – the Heavenly Bridge and the Stairway to Heaven.
In the west of Simatay, 130 kilometers from Beijing, there is a site called Jinshanling. Entrance tickets here cost 40 yuan during the period from mid-November to mid-March, and 50 yuan for the rest of the time. Round-trip ticket for cable car ride costs 50 yuan. Opening hours: from 8:00 to 17:00. This is one of the least renovated sections of the wall, accessible to tourists. There are usually fewer people and, unfortunately, fewer places where visitors are allowed.
The best periods for Great Wall China travel are spring and autumn. Thus, you will avoid the summer heat, crowds of people and winter frosts.
Great Wall of China: 12 facts
1. It is worth starting with the figures – the length of the wall reaches 8851.9 km, the height is up to 10 meters and the walls are 5.5 meters wide. Every 200 meters there are watchtowers. The purpose of the towers is quite obvious – it is, of course, defense, as well as alert about the enemy coming.
2. The construction of the Wall lasted more than 1800 years. The first parts of this project were built in the III century BC and the last bricks were laid already during 1368-1644. Actually, the most part of the surviving fragments of the wall refers to this time, and truly ancient buildings are not preserved.
3. The notion that the Great Wall is a long continuous wall is wrong. Initially, it formed a network of walls, often not even connected with each other. But even today it is rather a complex of walls with a length of 20,000 kilometers, rather than a single building.
4. Millions of people had managed to take part in its construction. It is believed that a significant part of them were criminals and convicts.
5. In the collection poems Shijing, dated XI-VI centuries BC, it was predicted that the rulers of the future would build a Great Wall in order to guard themselves against evil and dangerous nomads.
6. One of the most enduring myths about the Great Wall is that this structure is visible from outer space. The most surprising thing is that this myth was born centuries ago, when people did not even have a theoretical opportunity to know whether it was true. However, cosmonauts and astronauts say that this statement is wrong.
7. The Great Wall of China continues to collapse under the influence of time, nature and man. It is believed that thousands of kilometers of the wall can turn into the ruins within 25 years. Especially, it concerns a part of the wall in Gansu Province.
8. The wall is being destroyed, but archeologists regularly find and officially mark on the maps the new fragments of the complex of walls that form the Great Wall of China. The last time this announcement was made in 2012. It is believed that many walls, which are not yet found, are located on the border with Mongolia and even on its territory.
9. It is considered the largest cemetery in the world, since more than a million people died during the construction.
10. There is a marathon, called the “Great Wall”, when participants run a certain distance.
11. During the Cultural Revolution in China, people stole stones from the wall and used them for the building of houses and other structures.
12. Three sections of the wall are made of marble of purple color, they are the most durable and beautiful. However, not all tourists are allowed to see it.