Great Wall Wanli Chang Cheng
''Nobody can be a true hero unless he has been on the Great Wall'' goes the popular saying, and this clearly demonstrates the great importance which the Chinese attach to this unique monument. The Great Wall (in Chinese Wanli Chang Cheng, or The Wall That Is Ten Thousand Li In Length) today stretches about 6000km/3700mi in all, from the fortress Shanghaiguan in the east to the fortress Jiayuguan in the west.
The most visited section of the wall near Badaling Pass (1000m/3300ft above sea-level), about 97km/60mi northwest of Beijing, was restored in 1957. This section of the wall is between 7 and 8m (23 and 26ft) high and 5-6m (16-20ft) wide. Ten men or five horses can stand side by side across the top. It is faced with three layers of bricks. Along the inside runs a parapet and along the outside are battlements twice that height. A better view is to be had from the steeper, western section.
The section of the Great Wall near Gubeikou, 130km/80mi from Beijing, is very impressive. It was built on Mounts Panlong and Wohu and there is a wonderful view from here. The defensive tower built during the Ming period (1368-1644) is now just a ruin.
Jugongguan Pass begins 50km/30mi northwest of Beijing, extends for over 20km/12.5 through a valley and ends 5km/3mi from Badaling. At one time the pass was strategically very important as it safeguarded the northern approach to Beijing. The fortress here dates from the 14th C. The Terrace of the Clouds (Yuntai), built of marble C. 1345, measures 10m/33ft high, 27m/89ft long and 18m/59ft wide, and once had three towers and later a temple. Today it boasts an arched gateway decorated with reliefs of deities, guardians of the heavens and mythological animals as well as Buddhist inscriptions in Sanskrit, Tibetan, Mongolian. the Xixia language, Uigur and Chinese.
More Great Wall Pictures