My travel bucket-list: Great Wall of China

China is a wonderful country with plenty of amazing things to see. 

Once of this is the Great Wall of China.

The Great Wall of China is an ancient series of walls and fortifications made of stones, brick, tamped earth, wood and other materials, located in northern China, built around 2,500 years ago to protect the Chinese states and empires against the raids and invasions of the various nomadic group of the Eurasian Steppe but in fact it never stopped an invasion. 

Beside the materials used to build the Wall, ancient rumours speak of labourers being buried in it. These rumours probably were spread out from a chief historian of the Han dynasty, Sima Qian, who criticised his own emperor by slighting his Qin predecessor. Despite that, no bones have ever been found in the Wall and there is no evidence, written or archaeological, for the slander.

The construction of the wall is an amazing mystery which drew heavily on the local resources for construction materials and was carried out in-line with the local conditions under the management of contract and responsibility system. A great army of manpower, composed of soldiers, prisoners and local people, built the wall. The construction result demonstrates the wisdom and tenacity of the Chinese people.

Other purposes of the Great Wall, apart from defense, have included border controls, allowing the imposition of duties on goods transported along the Silk Road, regulation or encouragement of trade and the control of immigration and emigration and also served as a transportation corridor.

There is more than one Wall. The sections around Beijing have ancient precedents, some of which run directly beneath the Wall. And these divided sections are as nothing compared to other walls of earth, which run westward in parallel lines and scattered segments. The most well-known of the walls were built during the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), the Wall that we see today.

The Great Wall of China, one of the greatest wonders of the world, was listed as a World Heritage by UNESCO in 1987. Just like a gigantic dragon, it winds up and down across deserts, grasslands, mountains and plateaus, stretching approximately 21,196 kilometers from east to west of China.

Another myth around the Great Wall is that can be seen from the Moon. Robert Ripley, the American illustrator made a fortune with his cartoon feature Believe It Or Not!, who called the Great Wall “The mightiest work of man – the only one that would be visible to the human eye from the Moon”. This statement was, of course, founded on no evidence at all, since it was made 30 years before anyone had been in space but even so it became sanctioned by use. Surprisingly, even the eminent Sinologist Joseph Needham, author of Science and Civilisation in China, stated that “the Wall has been considered the only work of man which could be picked out by Martian astronomers”. Though discredited by astronauts, the Moon version is still widely quoted as a “fact”. The truth was confirmed once and for all during the first Chinese space flight in 2003, when astronaut Yang Liwei said he couldn’t see anything of it from orbit.

Along this super long wall, Beijing ranks the top destination for its proper maintenance of the abundant wall relics of the Ming Dynasty only at 2 hours drive. Badaling and Mutianyu are best sections to see neat and complete walls and beacon towers; while Jinshanling and Simatai offer challenging Great Wall hiking routes with open and wild scenery.

I see a lot of travel agencies have 1 day or even half day Great Wall tour packages depending on your available time. Half day I think is a little bit too short with such a wonder to be seen but one day definitely will work.

The best time to visit the Great Wall is spring from April to May but also in autumn from September to  November. The peak season is in summer but is way too hot and popular sections get very crowded. In winter time it’s too cold and even icy, but there’s almost no crowding, so if you don’t mind the cold can think about it.

For us is spring time so I think is time to plan a trip 😉

Photo credit: tn_Great-Wall-of-China Google images

33 thoughts

  1. Such great informative and rich post! Hope I will be able to visit the Great Wall of China one day! Thank you for sharing 😊💕

  2. Oh I really like the way you dispelled those myths. I had heard the one about buried bodies. Didn’t realise that was fake. And there’s more than 1 wall! That surprised me. Very informative post.
    By the way have you ever seen ‘an idiot abroad’? He thought it was just the ‘alright wall of China’. Your post proves different. Thank you for teaching me something today Ribana 🙏

    1. Thank you very much for reading Chris 😊 I think there are so many things that we don’t know yet. We have a wonderful planet and a lot of places to see! Is very interesting reading about all the myths of these places. Some are funny, some are sad, others are fake but others are true 😊 People’s imagination doesn’t have any limit 😊

      1. Well thank you for posting Ribana. Found it very interesting and I like learning new things.
        The myths around things are interesting also. We have our fair share in Ireland. Mostly involving giants who have lay down and become mountains. Would love to know what or whose imagination that came from.
        I’ve just come from your earth day post. Talking about imagination not having limits makes me think of flat earth believers haha
        Hope you’re having a great day 😊

      2. Thank you Chris! I think if we look closely, every country has its own myths and this makes them even more interesting 😊 Ireland I think is definitely a place for me to see. That cliffs that I saw in pictures are something incredible beautiful.
        Flat earth believers 😊 just recently when I saw the movie First Man, I was discussing with my husband how is still possible that there are people that still believe our earth is flat….You even don’t need imagination to see that is not 😊😊

  3. I was there in 1980 and all these young Chinese army types were running up and down the very steep parts of the wall showing off how athletic they were! It is definitely worth seeing.

  4. One great myth about it is that It can be seen from space but it can’t be.
    But still ,it’s one hell of a space.

    And Thanks for following my blog. I hope you enjoy reading my posts.

  5. Hi Ribana!
    That is a very informative and well-written post. Thanks. I have always been interested in seeing the Great Wall of China. I would definitely choose to go either in Spring or Fall as you suggested.

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