Highlights Archives: The Great Wall
The Great Wall is perhaps China’s most famous and most mythologized site. Several sections are conveniently visited from Beijing, including at Badaling, the most popular site, about 70 km (43 mi.) northwest of Beijing and at Mutianyu, 90 km (56 mi.) northeast of Beijing. These impressive brick and earth structures date from the Ming dynasty, when the wall was fortified against Mongol forces to the north. The Ming wall is about 26 feet tall and 23 feet wide at the base, and could accommodate up to six horsemen riding abreast. Watch towers, built on high points every 200-300 meters or so with small garrison forces, used fire signals or fireworks as a means of communication. These stretches of the wall are part of a system that extends from the Shanhaiguan fortress on the Bohai Gulf in the east to the Jiayuguan fortress in the west, altogether some 6000 km (3700 mi).
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