Published: June 7th 2010June 3rd 2010
The Mother of all walls; The Great Wall Of China! A must see to any first time China trip, I decided to pay it a visit immediately upon arriving in Beijing. I met a few other travelers at the hostel entrance when I first walked in and they were heading towards a secluded part of it and invited me along. So ten minutes later I was on my way to one of the wonders of the world.
Stretching over 6000 km, the first portions of the wall were constructed around 200 AD, mainly out of materials like earth, stones and wood. It's purpose was to keep out northern nomadic tribes like the Mongolians and Manchurians. Around the 15th century, during the Ming dynasty, the wall was worked on again extensively, this time using stronger materials like bricks. These days most of the wall is in disrepair, with the exceptions of areas near Beijing which have been extensively renovated.
I ended up going to a place the hostel called the Secret Wall, a section far away from the overrun tourist parts. It took around three hours to get there. The car approached a small village and door opened seemingly by
itself. A small Chinese woman stood there with a grin and climbed in. We found out she was over seventy years old and still fit enough to guide people along the wall. Four others were in this "group".
We began by walking into the hills and making our way up through the vegetation. We caught first sight of the wall soon after. It was quite run down, lots of stones had deteriorated or were falling off. It was hard work getting up portions of the wall in this state, I was surprised the old woman could keep up. The towers were in similar disrepair. I got a nice view of the countryside and wondered about how suicidal it would have been for an invading army to charge the wall that had countless soldiers waiting with bows. I asked the old woman which side Mongolia was on, she couldn't understand me.
On one of the towers we found a flag and I got some shots waving it high. The walk along the wall continued for a few hours, I think it was about ten kilometers in all. Afterwards we descended to a small village where some Chinese lunch was
waiting for us, it was really good. I met a park ranger or so I assumed that's what he was and he was hilarious, chatting and what not, although I couldn't understand a thing he said. With that we took off, back to Beijing and I slept on the way back. Here's checking off another amazing sight.
There are more photos below