Sections of the Great Wall

Travelers wondering about the many sections of the Great Wall might not be surprised to know that the famous structure was built over a considerable period of time. In fact, work on the collective fortifications that make up the Great Wall of China began in 220 BC and didn’t stop until the mid-1600's. The famous Ming Dynasty, which was in power from 1368 to 1644, built the portions that are most highly visited today. These portions are also the strongest structurally and the best preserved.

Badaling Great Wall

Badaling Great Wall

Badaling Great Wall

Of all the sections of the Great Wall of China, none is more highly visited than the Badaling section. Part of the reason for this is that the Badaling Great Wall is extremely well-preserved and easy to reach, which makes it among the most common destinations for Great Wall tours. Found approximately 40 miles north of Beijing, it was constructed during the Ming Dynasty period to help keep nomadic tribes at bay. One of the most impressive things about the Badaling Great Wall is the way that it rises and dips with the mountain terrain. The average altitude of the wall is 3,282 feet, and visitors can get quite a workout while walking along it. There are numerous ways to reach the Badaling Great Wall. The Badaling Expressway provides an ideal route for drivers, and those who wish to leave the driving up to someone else can catch a bus or a train out from Beijing.

Mutianyu Great Wall

Mutianyu Great Wall

Mutianyu Great Wall

The Mutianyu Great Wall is one of the most interesting sections of the Great Wall of China. Originally built by the Qi Dynasty in the mid-sixth century AD, it was reconstructed during the Ming period. In other words, it has a pretty rich history. Also helping to make the Mutianyu Great Wall so alluring are the beautiful views that can be enjoyed along its nearly one and a half mile stretch. Mountains, ridges, and forests comprise much of the natural terrain, and this portion of the wall features numerous watchtowers that add architectural depth to the overall scene. You can find the Mutianyu Great Wall some 45 miles northeast of Beijing. Most visitors arrive by way of bus from Beijing’s Dongzhimen area.

Simatai Great Wall

Simatai Great Wall

Simatai Great Wall

The Simatai Great Wall has long been one of the most popular Great Wall sections among tourists. Reasons for this include its somewhat quirky nature and the steepness of some of its sections. Certain sections have interesting names, such as the Fairy Tower and the Stairway to Heaven. Also worth highlighting is the Wangjinglou Tower. At 3,281 feet above sea level, it is the highest part of the entire Great Wall. It should also be noted that the Simatai Great Wall is considered by some to be the very best portion of the Great Wall. Couple this reputation with the fact that the Simatai Great Wall is one of the most popular China tourist attractions, and it is understandable that the section was recently targeted for major renovations. The Simatai Great Wall is approximately 75 miles from Beijing. Sometimes this section can be closed for renovations, so do check before you go.

Jinshanling Great Wall

Jinshanling Great Wall

Jinshanling Great Wall

The Jinshanling Great Wall is connected to the Simatai section. As such, it is also popular among tourists and is known for the splendid mountain terrain that it inhabits. Built by the Ming Dynasty, this section is the best preserved section of the Great Wall. Visitors can admire many original features, and there is a cable car that can take them to the highest portion. Regardless of how Jinshanling Great Wall visitors approach their sightseeing endeavors, they are likely to notice the high number of watchtowers that this section features. There are no less than 67 of them.

Jiankou Great Wall

Jiankou Great Wall

Jinshanling Great Wall

The Jiankou Great Wall is just one more section that tourists are encouraged to consider when planning their visits to the Great Wall of China. A very attractive section, it is made largely out of dolomite, and the locally-harvested white rock contrasts exceptionally with the surrounding terrain. The scenery is certainly splendid, thanks in part to the steepness of some of the mountains and the wall portions. This wonderful scenery helps to attract numerous photographers, and many Great Wall of China travel publications feature pictures of the Jiankou section. For those who wish to see the Jiankou Great Wall for themselves, the Zhao’s Hostel in Xizhazi Village can make for a fantastic travel base. This hostel is part farmhouse, and while it isn’t luxurious, it is hard to beat the convenient location, the friendliness of its staff, and the tempting activity options. When they aren’t exploring sections of the wall, guests can hike, climb, go horseback riding, and cuddle-up next to a bonfire, among other things.

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