He who has not climbed theGreat Wall is not a true man. ———MaoZedongThe Great Wall of China isthe greatest triumph of ancient Chinese engineering and one of the world’smost famous structures. It was originally built morethan 2,000 years ago to ward off Hun intruders from the north. Today, the wallis considered one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
The wall ismade up of many sections built over time by the different ruling dynasties. Thebest preserved are just outside of Beijing, with many Steppes clients visitingthe Mutianyu or Jinshanling sections of the Great Wall. 1.Famed forits Ming-era guard towers and excellent views, the 3km-long section of wall at Mùtiányù, was built and restored in theearly Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644) on the remnants of a Wall originally built inthe Northern Qi Dynasty (550-577). Reconstruction took place under thesupervision of Xu Da, one of the founding generals of the Ming Dynasty, who wasresponsible for building a Wall from Shanhaiguan in the east to as far asMutianyu. TheMutianyu section of the Great Wall of China offers an alternative Great Wallexperience to the popular Badaling section. This segment of China’s ancientengineering marvel features an optional cable car ride, or an opportunity toclimb more than 1,400 steps to the top.
The Mutianyu Great Wall is much steeperthan the Badaling section, and offers a more challenging climb. This section isalso older than Badaling, and features outer and inner parapets and threewatchtowers. While notas ‘pristine’ as other parts, it’s best for older travelers, families withsmall children, those who don’t love sheer drops and those short on time. Travelto the restored Mutianyu section and climb the Ming Dynasty watchtowers forincredible views of the Great Wall and the surrounding countryside. You candescend the wall by toboggan or take in the aerial view by cable car (at anadditional cost). You’ll then enjoy a traditional Chinese lunch and finish yourday back in Beijing.
From thegargantuan ticket office at Mùtiányù, shuttle buses (¥15) run the 3km to themain entrance, from where three or four stepped pathways lead up to the wallitself. There’s also a cablecar, a chairlift, called a ‘ropeway’ on the signshere, and a tobogganride, making this ideal for those who can’t manage too many steps, or who havekids in tow.No matterwhat you think it’ll be like the Great Wall will still blow you away.