The Great Wall of China- Wonder world
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Considered by volume the world’s largest construction, with a length of 21,196.18 km, the Great Wall of China was built to protect the Chinese Empire’s frontier against attacks from nomad nations in northern China.
Supposedly over the course of time, between two and three million Chinese died during the construction of the Wall. One of the most famous tales describing the mystique surrounding this architectural wonder would be the legend of the wife of a Chinese man who died during the constructionof the Wall. It is said that Meng Jiangnu walked from tower to tower, covering the entire wall from one end to the other, in hopes of finding her husband. She would ask the builders about him, all the while they hid the truth by telling her that her husband was “in the next tower”. Finally, having arrived at the last tower without finding her husband, she discovered that he had died. It is believed that Meng Jiangnu cried so hard and so loud as to have cracked the wall with her desperate wails and tears. Today, there is a temple dedicated to her.
How did I land here?
Once in Beijing, the capital of the People’s Republic of China, we took a taxi from the hotel where we were staying, and arrived in about two hours. In exchange for 180 Yuan (about 23 euros) we purchased three tickets, one for the bus that takes you to the funicular, another for the cable car (capacity of four people), and finally one that gives you access to the Wall. If you choose to walk all the way to the cable car, you’ll be able to save some bucks.
What to wear?
Light, sporty, and comfortable clothes and shoes, for there will be a gradual climb across the longest Wall on Earth. Funny fact as a European, you will be considered as the main touristic attraction. The Great wall received many tourists (more than 10 million visitors per year), many of whom are actually local Chinese mixed with what you expect to see of foreign nationalities. They are the most likely to ask you to take a picture with them. I had come across a group while making a video, and they gave me this huge flag.
Are we there yet?
You can climb as far as your physical condition allows you to. It is recommended to carry a bottle of water and something to eat, especially if you want to get to “the end”. You can stop anywhere, and besides the cafes and restaurants located at the base, there are various vendors on the way up from where you can get some drinks or snacks. I bought something from them out of respect for the fact that they climb 3000 steps (daily!) to sell refreshments for a living.
From this point, the road is broken and not very safe to continue. The Great Wall of China is, to some extent, in an advanced state of disrepare, or even destroyed due to the passage of time on one hand. On the other, it is the result of some tourists having taken home more than just pictures of the wall (pieces of the Wall being sold as a souvenir).
As I mentioned before, the distance you decide to walk remains at your discretion, but note that the Wall stretches over a distance of 6,400 km. The illustrated portion was restored during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), a dynasty that has also fixed the state’s capital city in Beijing (the form in which it has been preserved until today). It starts from the East, from the Shanhaiguan Pass, and stretches to the West of the country, in the Lop Nur Lake area.
The climb may seem tedious, however one should always bare in mind that here lies the sight of the Great Wall Marathon. In this line, imagine the intensity of a marathon that takes place along, or even inside the length of the wall, which ultimately involves the climbing and descending of approximately 3,700.
Upon descending, a Tourist Office is located after a“Free Certificate Here” sign, where you may receive a certificate with your name, proving that you have climbed the Great Wall of China.
Get in and get it, it’s free and it’s yours for life. After all, it is well-deserved!