If there is one monument in China that everyone across the world would like to visit, then that has to be Great Wall of China. Every year millions of visitors come to see Great Wall of China. This engineering marvel has been built in over 2000 years and the length of this wall exceeds 10,000 miles. It stretches from the eastern side of Chine to its western side. For long it has kept invaders and enemies at bay for many dynasties that have ruled China. Owing to its vast size and sheer work of engineering, Great Wall of China is also regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
If you are planning to visit China, then Great Wall is a spot that must occupy a place in your itinerary. People who do not have plans to travel to China, must immediately put it on top of their bucket list. We have written this blog, to make you explore the Great Wall of China in the best way.
History of Great Wall of China
There were several dynasties that were involved in the construction of Great Wall of China. It is believed that the construction of Great Wall of China began even earlier than 500 BC. The construction of this wall continued for over 2500 years, during which several sections of the wall were built. We have listed some of the prominent dynasties that participated in the construction of Great Wall of China.
Zhou Dynasty (1046 BC to 256 BC) – This was an era in China which saw the rising of many powerful kingdoms. To protect the states, wall was built and was guarded by soldiers. The first section of Wall ever to be built was Square Wall or also popularly known as the Chu State Great Wall. Later on, during the Zhou Dynasty, Yan State Wall, Qi State Wall, Zhao State Wall, Wei State Wall, and Qin State Wall were also built.
Han Dynasty (202 BC to 220 AD) – Led by Emperor Gaozu, the walls underwent many reinforcements and renovations. He also was in command of the construction of wall at the Yanmenguan Pass in 130 BC. He also ordered construction of defensive walls built between Yongdeng County and Jiuquan.
Jin Dynasty (265 AD to 420 AD) – During the Jin Dynasty, the Great Wall mostly underwent renovations, primarily because of good relationships with the Northern Tribes.
Sui Dynasty (581 AD to 618 AD) – It was Sui Dynasty that placed emphasis on building the great Wall with reinforced defense, to protect the kingdom from Northern Nomadic tribes. Under Sui Dynasty, many patches of Northern and Western parts of Great Wall were built. The first patch of work done by Sui Dynasty on Great Wall took 20 years and 2 Million workers to complete.
Tang Dynasty (618 AD to 907 AD) – It was during the Tang Dynasty that Northern Tribes and Central China came to terms on peace. There were only a few times that it was disturbed, and hence some sections of the wall were built during this time.
Liao Dynasty (907 AD to 1125 AD) – During the Liao Dynasty which was led by Emperor Shengzong and Xingzong, massive construction of Great Wall of China Took Place, specially around the region neighboring Bohai Kingdom.
Jin Dynasty (1115 AD to 1234 AD) – Jin Dynasty was a strong and powerful regime of North East China. Owing to the threats from Mongol Empire and Western Xia, the Northern Most part of the Great wall was built by Jin Dynasty in 1194. However the further expansion of the wall was hindered by drought and objection by the court of Dynasty.
Yuan Dynasty (1271 AD to 1368 AD) – Yuan Dynasty was founded by Mongol Empire and was a might in terms of military power, and the regions it ruled. M<any sections of the Great Wall of China were built during the reign of Yuan Dynasty.
Ming Dynasty (1368 AD to 1644 AD) – During Ming Dynasty, the amount of work done on Great Wall of China was at maximum. During their rule, the threats from Northern tribe led the dynasty to construct the wall for over two centuries. During this time not only new patches of Great Wall were constructed, but the older ones were also reinforced and renovated.
Qing Dynasty (1644 AD to 1911 AD) – Qing Dynasty which was founded by Machu Tribe of the North Eastern China, add only a small parts of the wall that exist today. However they were instrumental in construction of trenches in Lianing and Inner Mongolia.
Length of the Great Wall of China
The entire length of the Great Wall of China is estimated to be around 21,000 kilometers. The act of measuring the length of Great Wall of China undertook an effort of whopping 5 years by the archeology team, as it is spread across 15 regions of China.
The Great Wall Stretches from the China’s border with Korea in the east, to the Lop Lake near Mongolia in the Western Point. It is estimated that around 9% of the wall is lost due to erosion and natural disasters. In fact in the 1950’s the government of China even allowed the villagers around the sites of the wall to take material of Great Wall to build houses. It is estimated that only 8% of the Great wall is in a good condition and preserved. Owing to its popularity on Global Stage, lately the government has been putting more resources to preserve the Great Wall.
Parts of Great Wall near Beijing
Great Wall of China as a whole is spectacular, and every part of it is a piece of history that should be cherished. However, the North Western Part of the Great Wall is not that maintained as the Eastern parts of it. Due to extreme weathers and erosion, North Western Part of the Great Wall is less visited by travelers while the parts of Great Wall that are present near Beijing are the most popular amongst tourists. Here we have listed some of the most popular parts of Great Wall accessible from Beijing.
Badaling – The Great Wall at Badaling is the most well preserved section. It was also the first section of Great Wall that was opened for tourists. Here you can expect a lot of footfalls, and it is mostly crowded throughout the year. If you seek a little solace for admiring the Great Wall, then this might not be perfect for you. The highest point in the Badaling Great wall is the Bilbao point which is situated at an altitude of more than 1000 meters.
This section of the Great Wall is so popular and so overly visited by travelers, that finally the government had to impose a upper cap limit of 65,000 visitors per day. Here you will also find cable cars to take you to and fro to the wall. The place also has many restaurants and souvenir shops for tourists.
The admission Fee here ranges from 40 Chinese Yuan to 35 Chinese Yuan. The visiting times over here are between 6:30 AM to 7 PM. You can expect a couple of hours to complete your tour over here.
Mutianyu – Mutianyu is considered to be a more beautiful spot to view Great Wall of China, primarily because of the forested patches around it. The walls are also well preserved, and the most important thing is that it is not very crowded, so you can enjoy the views at your leisure.
It is located at a distance of only 80 Kilometers from Beijing. The forested area around this spot is also home to pine trees with an age of more than 300 years who are themselves worth seeing. You will also find here cable vehicles that will take you to the spot.
The stretch of the Great Wall over here is around 3 Kilometers long. It is also the most kid friendly section of the Great Wall if you travelling with one. You will also find cable car facility over here.
The admission fee here ranges from 40 Chinese Yuan to 45 Chinese Yuan. The visiting times here range from 8AM to 5PM. It will take a couple of hours of view Great Wall from here.
Jiankou – Jiankou part of the Great Wall is wilder. It runs for about 10 kilometers and average altitude is at more than 1000 meters. It is popular amongst tourists that want to blend hiking experience with the view of Great Wall of China. The walls here are steep, and you will encounter raw beauty over here. The Jiankou part of the Great Wall is located at a distance of 100 Kilometers from Beijing.
Travelers who are seeking Trekking experience over here must take a note that trekking routes over here are quite wild, and recommended only for experienced trekkers. It is highly recommended that if you are planning a trek over here do with some companions and not alone.
There is no admission fee to visit this part of Great Wall. The region is open for visitors throughout the day and you can expect few hours to visit and tour here.
Juyongguan – This is an ancient Pass in the Great Wall of China and has been popular for its scenic beauty since the Ming Dynasty. Here you will find the walls in its true shape, with a backdrop of forested region, mountains, and streams running through.
Juyongguan is located at a distance of merely 50 kilometers from Beijing. Juyongguan was a military town from the historic past, and is base to many temples, watchtower, and old army bases. A trip here is also a sneak peek into China’s military history.
The admission fee over here ranges from 35 Chinese Yuan to 40 Chinese Yuan. The visiting time over here ranges from 8AM to 5 PM, and you will need few hours to tour Great Wall from here.
Jinshanling – Jinshanling is another spot near Beijing that restores the raw beauty of Great Wall. The walls here are steep, and the views on both sides are magnificent. It is not much crowded, and is a heaven for photographers. The views of Sunrise and sunsets from this spot are very beautiful.
The Jinshanling Part of the Great wall is located at a distance of 150 kilometers from Beijing. Here yopu will also find cable cat facilities to assist you to tour the place.
At Jinshanling you will find a stretch of over 10 kilometers of the Great wall.
Then admission fee over here ranges from 55 Chinese Yuan to 65 Chinese Yuan. The visiting hours here range from 6AM to 7 PM. You can expect handful of hours to admire beauty of Great Wall from here.
Huanghuacheng – Huanghuacheng part of the Great Wall is also known as the Great Wall in the water. It is known for its unique beauty which is a blend of mountains, forests, and water of Haoming Lake in backdrop of the Great Wall. This spot is known for its spectacular beauty which you will not find in any other parts of the Great Wall. The views here are very photographic.
The Huanghuacheng part of the Great Wall also has a chestnut orchard located in its vicinity which is 500 years old. The spot is at a distance of around 75 Kilometers from Beijing.
The admission fee over here hovers around 45 Chinese Yuan to 75 Chinese Yuan which also includes a cruise trip. The visiting hours for this spot ranges from 8AM to 5PM. You can expect to spend at least half a day to tour this region properly.
Simatai – It is one of the most scenic parts of the Great Wall that must be on your itinerary if you want experience the raw beauty of Great Walls. The beauty of Ming Great Walls can be best cherished from this spot. It has more authentic and worn out parts of the Great Wall as compared to other parts. The forested region around the Great Wall over here adds more beauty to it.
One great thing about this section of the Great Wall is that it is the only section that offers night time viewing. The spot is only a couple of hours drive from Beijing. The Simatai part of the Great Wall is located at a distance of around 120 kilometers from Beijing. You will find cable car facility over here.
The admission fee over here ranges from 40 Chinese Yuan to 100 Chinese Yuan which also includes a tour guide. The viewing times over here ranges from 8AM to 6PM. You can expect a half of day to visit and tour this spot of the Great Wall.
Gubeikou – Gubeikou part of the Great wall is one of the most beautiful patches primarily because of the historic town of Gubeikou. There are two parts of walls in this spot, placed on Panlong Mountain and Wohu Mountain. This spot is quite popular amongst tourists that want to combine sightseeing with trekking opportunity. It is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts.
Gubeikou Great Wall is located at a mere distance of 140 Kilometers from Beijing. It has a great significance in history of China for protecting Beijing from attacks of Northern Tribes. It is believed that this spot has seen more than 120 battles.
The admission fee over here hovers around 45 Chinese Yuan. The visiting times in here are throughout the day. You can expect to spend least a half day of time to tour it.
Best Time to visit Great Wall of China
The best time to visit Great Wall of China is around April, May or the late of year in September and October. The weather in these times is most pleasant. Arriving late in September and October will allow you to admire the beauty of this place with autumn in backdrop. To avoid the rush, do not visit Great Wall on weekends and public holidays. Arrive early in the morning to tour it with peace of mind.
However you can also dare to visit the Great Wall during winters but you will have to be wary of the chilling weather. But you will get to see the Great Wall in midst of snow.
Hotels and Accommodation
The most popular sites of Great Wall are not much far from the big cities. You can easily stay there and indulge in some day trip tour. The ones that are more popular amongst tourists and have high footfall will also have resorts and hotels near to the site. You will also find local hotels, and local guesthouses near the popular sites of the Great Wall.
Take a Great Trip to the Great Wall of China!