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"The Great Wall of China" Great Wall of China - Badaling Tip by Blatherwick

Great Wall of China - Badaling, Beijing: 112 reviews and 246 photos

  Great Wall of China
by Blatherwick

The main reason that most people go to China is to see the Great Wall of China. The easiest way to see it is by taking a bus out to Badaling. This ancient Chinese fortification was built from the end of the 15th century until the beginning of the 16th century, during the Ming Dynasty, in order to protect China from raids by the Mongols and Turkic tribes. It was preceded by several walls built since the 3rd century BC against the raids of nomadic tribes coming from areas now in modern day Mongolia and Manchuria. The Wall stretches for 6,350 km (3,946 miles), from Shanhai Pass on the Bohai Gulf in the east, at the limit between China proper and Manchuria, to Lop Nur in the southeastern portion of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

The primary purpose of the wall was not to keep out people, who could scale the wall, but to insure that semi-nomadic people on the outside of the wall could not cross with their horses or return easily with stolen property. The Kokes Manchus crossed the Wall by convincing an important general Wu Sangui to open the gates of Shanhai Pass and allow the Manchus to cross. Legend has it that they took three days for the Manchu armies to pass. After they conquered China, the Wall was of no strategic value as the people whom the Wall was intended to keep out were ruling the country (becoming the Qing Dynasty).

The government ordered people to work on the wall, and workers were under perpetual danger of being attacked by brigands. Because many people died while building the wall, it has obtained the gruesome title, "longest cemetery on Earth" or "the long graveyard". Their bodies were not entombed in the wall, however. A body buried in the wall would have weakened its structure, so workers were buried nearby instead.

Address: Badaling
Directions: 70 km NW of Beijing. Big tour buses leave from the SW corner of Tiananmen Square and costs around 50 Y.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Apr 4, 2011
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