The Great Wall of China from Beijing


The Great Wall of China from Beijing
Nicole Anderson explores the pure magnificence across the Great Wall of China. Photo: James Visser.


Approaching the Great Wall of China
Approaching one of many entrances to the Great Wall of China. Photo: James Visser.

Would any journey to China actually be full with out seeing the well-known Great Wall? Would there be something extra symbolic to China than the Great Wall?

Sure, China is known for a lot of issues. Pandas, jade, silk, tea, terracotta warriors and the gorgeous Yangtze River to call just a few. And whereas a lot of this stuff are related particularly to China, the Great Wall of China little question rises above all within the minds of most individuals.

Anyone who had normal international historical past and geography topics taught as a part of the varsity syllabus would have been made conscious of this awe-inspiring feat of human endeavor not matched wherever else on the planet.

I used to be eager to go to not simply the wall however to see the pure magnificence that surrounds many of the wall, given how a lot of the big nation of China it crosses.



The entrance to climb up to the Great Wall of China
The entrance to climb as much as the Great Wall of China on the Juong Pass is simply reverse a small village. Photo: James Visser.


Some Statistics

On the Great Wall of China, next to one of the watch towers.
James and I standing on the Great Wall of China, subsequent to one of many watch towers. Photo: Leo, our Tour Guide.

We are speaking about the one man-made construction on Earth that may really be seen from the International Space Station. Not that the main focus of this text is round this spectacular development by man however there are some info which are laborious to not be amazed by.

A sequence of fortifications constructed as safety from northern invasion (suppose Genghis/Kublai Khan and the Mongol Empire), the Great Wall of China as we all know it took over 2,000 years to assemble (roughly 300BC to 1700AD). A UNESCO World Heritage listed construction, it stretches for over 20,000kms (12,500 miles) and took greater than one million troopers, commoners, prisoners, and animals to construct excessive on the ridges additional than the attention can see. Hundreds of hundreds of males died whereas engaged on the wall, a lot of which have been buried throughout the wall itself.

More than 10 million folks a 12 months go to numerous sections of the Great Wall of China. The wall stretches throughout 23 levels of longitude and will be visited in 15 provinces, principalities or areas. The top of the wall goes as much as 39 ft and is as large as 23 ft thick. The wall has an estimated 25,000 watch towers the place troopers lived, spaced shut collectively in some locations however as much as 3 miles aside elsewhere.

The statistics are staggering. The views of the gorgeous countryside the wall travels by way of are gorgeous. The historical past is superb. The sheer effort to create one thing this spectacular is tough to match with anything. The closest I felt to seeing something fairly as magnificent would have been the superb Egyptian Pyramids on the Giza Plateau throughout the Sahara.



Visiting the Great Wall of China

Inside one of the watch towers of the Great Wall of China.
Inside one of many watch towers. Photo: James Visser.

Beijing is no doubt the preferred metropolis most worldwide guests select as a base to go to the Great Wall. There are many sections of the Great Wall which are inside a simple day journey’s drive from Beijing and given the big recognition of this attraction, it’s best to decide on your part in line with your health stage in addition to the crowds you might be prone to discover.

The greatest occasions to go to this artifical marvel from a climate perspective are stated to be May or October (spring and autumn). Pick the piece of the wall that most closely fits your requirements and pursuits. Dynamic, certain explorers must dare to Jinshanling, whereas households may want to stick with the extra accessible Mutianyu phase (there’s a rare, five-minute sled journey from the best level of the japanese end to the bottom).

Visitors staying with public transportation will initially need to get to Dongzhimen Station, the place you possibly can take the categorical journey to Huairou Station. Here, you’ll have to maneuver to a bus headed for Mutianyu.

There are additionally in extra of 10 units of speedy trains that journey between Beijing and Badaling Extraordinary Wall Rail line Station, operating from Beijing North Rail line Station.

Many journey specialists recommend skirting the practice and deciding on a recruited automobile and an aide. They’ll have the choice to take you to much less crowded segments of the wall.



Our Experience

Of all of the sections accessible, we have been most eager on the concept of avoiding crowds, but nonetheless experiencing a well-maintained and accessible a part of the wall. In this regard, we have been fortunate to have been taken to the unique Juyong Pass part of the Great Wall. The Juyong Pass is a mountain cross located within the Changping Region some 50 kilometers (31 mi) north of Beijing.


Looking down the Great Wall of China to the Juyong Pass with the wall continuing on the ridgeline into the distance.
Looking down the Great Wall of China to the Juyong Pass with the wall persevering with on the ridgeline into the space. Photo: James Visser.


The view looking up from the courtyard at the Juyong Pass entrance to the Wall.
The view trying up from the courtyard on the Juyong Pass entrance to the Wall. Photo: James Visser.


Information sign located at the entrance where you climb the Great Wall of China at the Juyong Pass.
Information signal situated on the entrance the place you climb the Great Wall of China on the Juyong Pass. Photo: James Visser.


There are many steep sections throughout the Great Wall as it follows the top of ridges across northern China.
There are many steep sections all through the Great Wall because it follows the highest of ridges throughout northern China. Photo: James Visser.

The Great Wall of China is constructed excessive atop of ridges making it practically unimaginable for any invading pressure to assault. As a consequence, guests actually do must have a stage of bodily health to hike alongside the wall for any actual distance. This explicit part had a really steep rise and there have been indicators in all places warning folks to pay attention to their very own health ranges to keep away from collapsing, coronary heart episodes and so forth.

However, the truth that you might be at all times above a ridge means you’ve got an impressive view of the encompassing countryside and you’ll see the wall for miles and miles because it snakes its approach up and down the hills and mountains to the north. The watch towers in fact had magnificent views throughout and it was attention-grabbing to wander round trying on the rooms and the place the troopers slept, cooked and spent their days.

Even the realm which is the doorway the place you climb as much as the wall itself is steep with stairs that many stopped to relaxation, slightly than making an attempt to quickly ascend with out stopping. This is a spot to get pleasure from in case you are not on a timeline and might take your time. We have been blessed with a beautiful day after we visited and took our time exploring a wonderous space of the world not everybody will get to.

Opposite to the steps coming into the Great Wall is a village first constructed on the time of the wall which accommodates plenty of temples, houses and so forth along with a museum and different areas of curiosity to vacationers. Heading down the hill from the village is a sq. containing plenty of eating places and memento retailers, subsequent to the principle automotive park of the realm.


The village sitting next to the Juyong Pass entrance to the Great Wall of China.
The village sitting subsequent to the Juyong Pass entrance to the Great Wall of China. Photo: James Visser.


James Visser happy to be at the Great Wall of China.
James Visser blissful to be on the Great Wall of China. Photo: Nicole Anderson.


Beautiful nature surrounds the Great Wall of China
Beautiful nature surrounds the Great Wall of China. Photo: James Visser.


Highlights in and round Beijing

If, like most, you go to the Great Wall of China from Beijing, there are some native sights you may additionally need to take into account seeing when you are there.

Below are a number of the extra well-liked selections for guests.


The Forbidden City

Nicole Anderson in front of the Forbidden City.
Photo taken of myself at Tienanmen Square displaying the doorway to the Forbidden City within the background. Photo: James Visser.


Officially generally known as the Imperial Palace Museum, the Forbidden City was initially constructed by the third Emperor of the Ming Dynasty within the early 15th century (1406). It remained as the house for twenty-four Emperors of China till 1911, when the Last Emperor was deposed.


Beautiful flower beds adorn the outside of the Forbidden City
Beautiful flower beds adorn the skin of the Forbidden City. Photo: James Visser.


The time period ‘Forbidden City’ was used as entry to the realm was barred to many of the topics of the realm. Government functionaries and even the imperial household have been permitted solely restricted entry; the emperor alone might enter any part at will.


The Forbidden City is huge with many different sections and buildings
The Forbidden City is big with many alternative sections and buildings. Photo: James Visser.


Today, the Forbidden City is house to the Palace Museum. It homes over a million uncommon Chinese artworks and artifacts. Most of those come from the Ming and Qing dynasties.


One of the internal bridges dividing sections of the Forbidden City.
One of the inner bridges dividing sections of the Forbidden City. Photo: James Visser


The Forbidden City is documented as the biggest imperial palace on the planet. Covering a formidable 720,000 sq. meters (7,750,000 sq. ft), the Forbidden City is over 3 times bigger than the Louvre Palace in France.


There are so many open courtyards within the Forbidden City, some larger than others
There are so many open courtyards throughout the Forbidden City, some bigger than others. Photo: James Visser.


With its grounds taking over 178 acres in the course of Beijing, it’s certainly a metropolis inside a metropolis. The metropolis was constructed to accommodate 9,999 rooms as a result of solely the celestial Lord of Heaven, not his imperial son on Earth, might get pleasure from 10,000. Nonetheless, the quantity 9,999 is auspicious in Chinese tradition, related to the emperor, and pronounced the identical because the Chinese phrase “eternal.”


The size of the place was deceptive and the sections of the Forbidden city seemed to go on forever.
The dimension of the place was misleading and the sections of the town appeared to go on without end. Photo: James Visser.


Surrounding the town is a large moat and the entrance entrance faces the well-known Tiananmen Square which has beautiful flower beds and preparations round in addition to Chinese sentries and the well-known image of Chairman Mao Zedong.  The Forbidden City was additionally declared a World Heritage Site in 1987.


The Moat wrapping around the perimeter of the Forbidden City.
The Moat wrapping across the perimeter of the Forbidden City. Photo: James Visser.


Interestingly sufficient, in line with Wikipedia, in 2018, the Forbidden City’s market worth was estimated at US$70 billion, making it each the world’s most precious palace and probably the most useful piece of actual property wherever on the planet. It can also be one of many largest and most well-preserved wood buildings on the planet and nicely value a go to whereas in Beijing.


The garden area of the Forbidden City was sizable as well as peaceful.
The backyard space of the Forbidden City was sizable in addition to peaceable. Photo: James Visser.


You might actually spend many hours within the Forbidden City exploring all its treasures, studying a lot of its historical past and imagining what it was like again in time. I used to be advised there was restrict of individuals allowed into go to the Forbidden City at anyone time was 40,000. It was actually busy on the day we went however we might nonetheless simply see an amazing deal and take photographs whereas we have been there.



Tiananmen Square

One part of Tienanmen Square... it's big!
One a part of Tienanmen Square… it’s huge! Photo: James Visser.

Tiananmen Square is probably the best-known image of recent China. With a floor space of 440,000 sq. meters, 880 meters lengthy and 500 meters large, that is the biggest sq. in China and the sixth largest on the planet. It is alleged to have the ability to maintain 1 million folks throughout the sq..

The Square is very nicely generally known as the placement of 4 necessary historic occasions. These embrace the 1919 May Fourth Movement, proclaiming on 1 October 1949 of the People’s Republic of China by Chairman Mao Zedong, the 1976 protests and the Tiananmen Square protests and bloodbath of 1989. In explicit the picture of the ‘Tank Man’ who was filmed obstructing a column of tanks throughout that point is one thing that many clearly bear in mind.

Tienanmen Square Beijing
It can be straightforward to lose somebody on this place. Photo: James Visser.

Tiananmen Square can also be well-known as being the placement of the Mausoleum of Chairman Mao whose physique lies in state inside a glass coffin and is visited by hundreds of individuals day by day.

The Square can also be surrounded on all sides by buildings regarding authorities and/or cultural significance, not the least of which is the principle entrance to the Forbidden City. There can also be a every day flag-raising ceremony carried out at dawn by a troop of the People’s Liberation Army. As you may think, the reverse happens at sundown with troopers goosestepping 108 paces per minute by way of the Gate of Heavenly Peace.

Major occasions and army parades are staged right here with the Forbidden City because the backdrop, making this sq. immediately recognizable to many who see such parades on TV. Walking across the sq. was an attention-grabbing method to soak up a number of the really feel and tradition of people that appear to really feel an amazing sense of nationwide delight. Everyone we noticed was blissful to be there, some traveled from distant locations throughout China and all we encountered have been very pleasant.


Many groups throughout China travel to Tienanmen Square every day.
Many teams all through China journey to Tienanmen Square day by day. Photo: James Visser.



Hutongs are typical lanes fashioned by homes with courtyards constructed on all sides the place locals nonetheless stay. Hutong is a singular type of group that exists solely in China. It is without doubt one of the most distinctive options and must-see sights in Beijing.


A church complex within the Hutong neighborhood
A church advanced throughout the Hutong neighborhood. Photo: James Visser.


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James and I in our rickshaw employed for the go to. Photo: Tour Guide Leo.

As one of many cultural symbols of outdated Beijing City, hutongs have a historical past of greater than 700 years. They first appeared within the Yuan Dynasty (1271 – 1368) and developed within the Ming (1368 -1644) and Qing (1644 – 1911) Dynasties.

Sandwiched between the Drum Tower and the Lama Temple is the place you’ll find Beijing’s historic hutong alleyways. This neighborhood additionally consists of three lakes (Qianhai, that means Front Sea; Houhai, that means Black Sea; and Xihai, that means West Sea) surrounding areas of historic curiosity and scenic magnificence.

We booked an non-compulsory tour particularly to see an outdated hutong neighborhood which included a strolling tour, an old style pedicab (rickshaw journey drawn by bicycle) and home made lunch at an area hutong house.

It was a culturally enriching expertise and our host within the hutong house that cooked lunch was a beautiful girl who served up conventional Chinese meals, all of which was scrumptious and rather more than we might presumably eat. It was a beautiful house with courtyard that was embellished with superbly carved wood furnishings.


One of 3 lakes in Hutong, Beijing.
One of the three Hutong Lakes we noticed on this area of Beijing. Photo: James Visser.


Lake Canal, Hutong, Beijing, China.
So many alleyways of houses and retailers to get pleasure from adjoining to lakes and canals. Photo: James Visser.


Chinese Performing Arts

Chinese theatre is thought for its color, tradition and spectacular leisure. This is unquestionably what we bought after we booked to attend the large-scale dramatic musical ‘The Golden Mask Dynasty’.


Beijing theater.
Watching this efficiency you additionally study of Chinese folklore. Photo: James Visser.


The efficiency right here was nothing form of superb. The music, lighting, acrobatics, gymnastics, puppetry, costumes, make-up, singing, and dancing was actually excellent and would rival the standard of any stage manufacturing wherever on the planet.


The Golden Mask Dynasty, Beijing
There have been so many parts to this manufacturing. Photo: James Visser.


The whole viewers was blown away by how exceptional this efficiency was with continuous surprises occurring all through the present. Towards the finale there was a tremendous scene which concerned flash flooding of the stage. Most of us seated towards the entrance initially thought this was one other visible impact however after we felt residual water spray and regarded nearer, we might see the stage utterly being submerged by hundreds of litres/gallons of precise, fast-moving water!


Real flash flood on stage
We thought this may need been an optical phantasm at first however this was actual water! Photo: James Visser.


Beijing Olympic Park

Another nice website to go to whereas in Beijing is the big Beijing Olympic Park.


Beijing Olympic Park
The Beijing Olympic Park has areas of bushes and parks for folks to get pleasure from. Photo: James Visser.


Home of the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games, this can be a huge public house separated by the precise Olympic Venues in addition to parks with household facilities and loads of distributors providing every kind of meals, drink and souvenirs on the market.


Beijing Olympic Park 2023
There have been large areas between all of the Olympic venues. Photo: James Visser.


The whole space right here covers 11.59 sq. kilometers and consists of the Olympic Forest Park within the north, the Olympic venue cluster within the middle and the Asian Games venue cluster within the south.


James Visser, Beijing Olympic Park 2023.
James outdoors the principle Beijing Stadium. Photo: Nicole Anderson.


Visiting this park is a superb method to spend a leisurely few hours admiring the gorgeous gardens, completely different architecturally designed sporting venues, and the peaceable strolling areas that insulate you inside a really busy metropolis.



Other non-compulsory actions

Outside of the above there are lots of extra actions, procuring (particularly for Jade), eating and so forth that many vacationers love doing in Beijing.

Nicole Anderson, Jade centre, Beijing
Standing in one of many showrooms of the Jade centre. Photo: James Visser.


In our case James and I indulged in having new optical glasses made which have been of top of the range and the perfect aggressive pricing, to not point out he purchased me some beautiful jade items.


James Visser dining in Beijing.
James and I loved all kinds of genuine dishes in Beijing. Photo: Nicole Anderson.


We even bought checkups by conventional Chinese drugs docs and have been shocked that their findings have been so aligned to our present Western-diagnosed situations. So, we bought some pure Chinese drugs to attempt which have components which are all based mostly in nature.




I’m not usually a fan of cities wherever. Beijing nevertheless is located comparatively near plenty of gateways to the Great Wall of China, and with it, entry to China’s lovely countryside. On high of this, Beijing is sort of a reasonably metropolis with a variety of effort put into inexperienced areas.

Beijing and China extra broadly, are additionally placing a variety of effort into incentivizing residents to maneuver to electrical autos which is necessary given the inhabitants ranges.

The native persons are welcoming and the town is clear and never laborious to get round. From the second we arrived on the spotless and fashionable Beijing airport to the time we left to discover different elements of China, we discovered this a part of the world to supply a wonderful break.


Nicole Anderson at the Great Wall of China.
I used to be so happy to have made the journey right here. Photo: James Visser.


Have your say

What is your impression of the Great Wall of China, Beijing and surrounding areas? Have you visited? Is this someplace you’d like to journey to? Please share your ideas within the feedback beneath.



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