Hi Sign Hunters,
This is the second part of the Bejing blog series that is based on the Beijing trip that we did in mid-January 2020 (click here for Part 1). This post, moreover, is about one of the most memorable bits to our trip. We have colloquially decided that visiting a small section of the Great Wall of China at Mutianyu (慕田峪 - means literally the 'field of the admiration valley') has been without any doubts one of the best parts of our life and time that we spent here in China. This chapter, therefore, is not venturing into other areas of Beijing, it is not dealing with any other sites that we visited, it only focuses on the Great Wall of China, more precisely, on this section of it. Even if you have never been to China, it is very much likely that 'The Wall' is the first thing that comes into your mind when asked what you know about this country; therefore, it is worth having this blog specifically focused on this world heritage.
According to the Wikipedia article on the Great Wall, it is "the collective name of a series of fortification systems generally built across the historical northern borders of China to protect and consolidate territories of Chinese states and empires against various nomadic groups of the steppe and their polities. Several walls were being built from as early as the 7th century BC by ancient Chinese states; selective stretches were later joined together by Qin Shi Huang (220–206 BC), the first Emperor of China. Little of the Qin wall remains. Later on, many successive dynasties have built and maintained multiple stretches of border walls. The most well-known sections of the wall were built by the Ming dynasty (1368–1644)." This basically means that the Great Wall used to be in sections, which were later connected forming a total length of 21,196 km or 13,171 miles!
The section we visited is the Mutianyu Great Wall located 70 km north from Beijing city centre. It was mostly built by granite and has many unique features and characteristics, such as densely placed watchtowers and both the outer and inner parapets are crenellated with merlons, so shots could be fired at the enemy on both sides. The construction of this section began as early as the 6th century and has the largest construction scale and best quality among all sections of Great Wall. Today, it is being one of the best-preserved parts (2,250 m) of the entire length of the Great Wall, though it is still the less popular by visitors than the Badaling (八达岭) section, which is also situated within the administrative limits of the Beijing municipality.
The selection of photos below representing the few hours we had the chance to be there. We also recorded a video and a vlog episode of exploring the Great Wall at Mutianyu is now available on YouTube (click here).
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