Authentic voices. Remarkable stories. AOL On Originals showcase the passions that make the world a more interesting place.
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Shepherd Entertainment takes you on a tour of the Great Wall of China, which is an enormous piece of architectural artwork ...
matching the pyramids and other wonders of antiquity. It’s the only man made structure that can be seen from the moon.
Tags:Visit the Great Wall in China,China travel attractions,china travel guide,China travel information,china travel tips,shepherd entertainment,shepherdfilm,The Great Wall in China,world travel
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The Great Wall of China is an enormous piece of architectural artwork matching the pyramids and other wonders of antiquity. It’s the only man made structure that can be seen from the moon. No wonder since it winds along a length of 6000 km from the crossing of Shanghai -- at Bohai Bay to the Gia -- crossing at the verge of the Gobi Desert. It winds along on the ridges of mountains through valleys and plains like a giant snake touching 11 provinces. Probably the Great Wall is known by everybody in the world and those who visit Beijing want to see it for themselves by all means. The Yangsan Mountain Range and the wall stretching on it are not far from the capital, only 70 to 100 km. We can reach the Great Wall mostly in groups by bus. Those parts that are close to Beijing have been renovated and these sections have also been opened to visitors. The most well known is Badaling, followed by Mutianyu and Simatai. Even in the 5th century BC, there were walls and mostly earthworks that protected China from attacks of barbarians. In 221 BC, the first emperor who unified the country Qin Shih Huang Di determined that he would build a continuous fortification by connecting these parts. Hundreds of thousands of people worked over eight years moving hundreds of millions of cubic meters of earth. The construction however, had not been finished even in the time of the Han Dynasty. The sections around the capital were built in the time of the Ming Dynasty 5000 or 6000 years ago. The Great Wall never had to stand up to the siege of enemy troops. However, it’s system of bastions was good to survey the movements of the enemy and the posts sent smoke signals to each other from here. Moving on top of the wall, messengers could reach their destination faster than by climbing through mountains and valleys. As the Chinese proverb goes, he who has not climbed the Great Wall yet, is not a hardy man. Besides tourism from abroad, domestic tourism is also significant. The double gate of the Great Wall at Badaling was built in 1505, was restored in 1957 and in the 1980s, it was equipped with an elevator system. The gate stands at a height of 100 meters above sea level. The wall is 6.6 meters in both height and width. The area surrounded by the walls is a parking place for buses. We can find snack bars and restaurants here and a line of shops where local souvenirs are sold, stuffed panda bears, platters and mugs decorated with the portrait of Mao, lanterns, incense sticks, lighters playing Chinese music and dragon sculptures. We can have our names written on a grain of rice with Chinese symbols and we can buy miniature replicas of the soldiers of the clay army, even a replica of the Great Wall as a paperweight. There are T-shirts saying I have climbed the great wall and we can buy a certificate which is written in our name justifying the same thing. Before climbing, we can watch a 15 minute film in the round panorama theater. Those preferring not to climb may go with the elevator or cable railway or even a roller coast like railway. At Mutianyu, the wall is steeper and narrower than at Badaling but there’s a cable railway here too. Simatai has best preserved its original character. Those who would like to see the Great Wall a little differently should not miss this. They’re not as well known as the pandas but the black bears are at least as characteristic of Chinese wildlife.