Great Wall of China

Why the Great Wall of China was built? Definitely not to keep the rabbits out!

Beijing!

This city has  been headline news for reasons varying from the greatest architectural achievements and fantastic Olympic organisation  to deserved criticism of its air pollution and acts towards suppression of it’s people’s rights. The latter though  is the direct outcome of the country’s political system – communism, with the Communist party holding an absolute monopoly on the political and economical life in China.

Mongolian archers hadn’t been stopped by the Great Wall

Beijing  translates  as “Northern capital” from Chinese, and it is indeed located in the north-west of the country, only about 700 km from the border with Mongolia. It is merely due to its location that today Beijing attracts millions of people wishing to have a look at the Great Wall of China . Attracting tourists obviously had not been the reason for  the Wall construction . This ancient fortification miracle appeared  to protect settled agricultural Chinese society from the furious  Mongolian tribes traversing steppes north of Gobi desert. Although the Great Wall is some of the most impressive human architectural undertaking, we know from the history it hadn’t really stopped Genghis Khan and his army from taking over China and a few dozen other small and big states.

“Dragon’s Back” through the Wall’s window

Even if you are totally out of focus with history, you will love seeing this magnificent engineering feat, stretching for thousands of kilometres on the top of the mountain range and making you agree to the metaphor used to describe it – “The Dragon’s Back”!

Once the speechless moment has passed you should enjoy the walk on the wall, up its many stairs and look through the small tower windows, imagining you were the 12th century guard.

Vodkatrain group aloft on Tiananmen Square, Beijing

If you are travelling on  Ruski Huski with Vodkatrain, you will be  one of the few privileged witnesses of the snow-coated Wall.  Winter travel to China has many advantages.  Given the population of the country and volume of its internal tourism,  peak summer months can be very crowded. Winter brings with it the opportunity to enjoy the mightiness of the Wall or vastness of the Forbidden City mostly to yourself and your fellow travellers and that is an undoubted advantage!

Beijing is closely located to a few sections of the Great Wall. Badalin section is only an hour drive from the city, it offers  wonderful scenery, high mountains, although its proximity to the city makes it the most popular weekend destination for Beijiners and short-term  city visitors. For more genuine Great Wall experience it makes sense to go a little further, to the part called Mutianyu. After an ordeal of one thousand three hundred steps of climbing to the Wall you will get a breathtaking view of the Inner Mongolia province of China (as opposed to Inner Mongolia, which is a part of China, country Mongolia is also known as Outer Mongolia). Sliding down with the toboggan is an experience that shouldn’t be missed!

Jinshanling Great Wall

If time permits and you are up to some challenging experience you may as well consider going to Jinshanling section of the Great Wall. It is a fair way out of the city (125 km) and you will have to commit to a walk on the Wall for 10 km to reach the next part called Simatai where from you can head back to the city. The rewards to this hardships are great – stunning scenery, very few people and some of the best preserved parts of the Great Wall.

Share your experience with us! What part of the Wall have you been to? What was it like? We are keen to hear your stories!

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