Advantages Able to marvel at one of the great wonders of the world.
Disadvantages Can get too crowded at this spot.
|Is it worth visiting?|
The Great Wall of China Badaling.The Great Wall of China is one of the most wonderful sights you are likely to see on your trip to china. It is a magnificent structure that apparently can be seen from outer space although there is some debate whether this is true. It stretches for over 5000 miles across the whole of china from the desserts in the West right to the sea in the East over mountains. Building of the great wall started approximately 476 years BC and was finally completed during the Ming Dynasty in about 1644.
The wall was originally built to try and stop the Northern nomadic tribes from invading China and they just kept building and building the wall. The wall was built by local people soldiers and criminals. Many lost their lives during the construction of the wall but there has never been an accurate account of exactly how many died.
There are a variety of landscapes the wall is built on including the mountainous region about 40-50 miles north of Beijing. It’s absolutely amazing to think that these people moved all these stones rocks and boulders to make this great wall on the top of the mountains. Many parts of the wall are unsafe and in a state of disrepair due to wear and tear caused by weather and also local people stealing the stones to build their own houses.
The wall is quite wide and apparently it had to be wide enough so that rows of horses five abreast could walk along the wall where ever they were needed fast. As the wall is on the top of the mountains you can imagine that the steps were of differing heights some short steps some long some tall some short. It really is quite wearing on the legs. I laughed and asked is this really the easiest route? Along the wall are small look out posts where soldiers would be stationed looking out towards the north in case of invasion. The system they used to alert invasions were smoke signals a small puff of smoke used to go up and one bang on the drum to indicate 100 invaders, 2 bangs of the drum which meant there were about 500 invaders and 3 bangs would mean there were about a thousand. This was relayed along the wall between watch towers so that the army could be mobilised as quickly as possible. They were particularly worried about invasion by the Mongols who were particularly fierce warriors.Reaching the peak of the first watch tower we looked down into the valley below. The watchtower gave commanding views for miles around. Ahead we could see another watch tower they are obvious for as far as the eye can see. We made it to the fourth watch tower before having to return to the meeting point. The wall just goes on and on and on higher and higher into the mountains and down into the valleys as far as the eye can see. It really is a remarkable sight.
Thinking that it would be a doddle going down let me stress right here and now it certainly isn’t. It really plays on your calves and you certainly know you have walked the Great Wall. On our way down it started to rain and this made the path very slippery and we saw several people take a tumble so be aware of this. There were paintings for sale near to the entrance of the wall which were very cheap and at one of the look out posts there were some stalls set up to sell trinkets and a camel you could pose with and have your picture taken with the views of the great wall in the background. At the bottom of the wall there are some cannon guns that had been used on the wall in the past from the 1800’s and apparently they still worked but were just there for show.Reaching the meeting point down below in the square we then walked to the coach park we passed lots of little shops selling souvenirs and nick naks from small items to massive jade sculptures. All shops expect you to haggle over the prices. There are restaurants and cafés here too selling all kinds of foods.
If you are not feeling up to walking there is a cable car ride that you can take to the summit of the Great Wall at Badaling and there is also some kind of slide adventure thing you can take down a little bit like a toboggan run which looked fun. It is very commercialised here and by driving a few more miles further you can reach parts of the wall and it is practically deserted no other tourists or sight seers for miles around. Sadly in places the wall is but a ruin and can be very dangerous to walk on great care needs to be taken when walking on the wall.If you ever go to China the great wall is a definite attraction to see and experience.
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