As a symbol of the Chinese nation, the Great Wall stretches likes a huge dragon in the vast land of China, which is more than 5,000 kilometers (3,107 miles) long from east to west, hence its name “the Great Wall of Ten Thousand Li”. A number of sections of Great Wall run across Beijing, of which the famous ones include Badaling Great Wall, Juyongguan Great Wall, Mutianyu Great Wall, Simatai Great Wall, Gubeikou Great Wall, Jinshanling Great Wall, Huanghuacheng Great Wall, Shuiguan Great Wall, Lupiguan Great Wall and Koujian Great Wall.
Badaling Great Wall
As the most representative section of Ming-era (1368- 1644) Great Wall, Badaling Great Wall was built in the 18th year (1505) of the Emperor Hongzhi’s reign and stationed by armies as an outpost in the 30th year (1551) of the Ming Dynasty (1368- 1644), serving as an essential part of defending system of the Ming Dynasty (1368- 1644).
Badaling Mountain stands in the northernmost end of the Pass Ditch (Guan Gou, a 40 -kilometer long valley), and it has long been an important portal to Beijing. Badaling Great Wall was a place contested by all strategists owing to its great strategic significance in the history of China, along which numerous beacon towers, fortresses and crenels are distributed. Badaling has witnessed many historical events, the Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s Inspection Tour, the Emperor Taizu of Yuan Dynasty (1206-1368) entering Badaling Pass and the Ming-era (1368 -1644) Emperor Zhu Di's Northern Expedition. Standing on the top of Badaling Great Wall offers visitors a fantastic view of the undulating peaks below.
Badaling Great Wall has been renovated several times since the Qing Dynasty (1616 -1911) owing to exposing to wind and rain, and it has received over 200 millions visitors since its opening to the public in 1952. Now Badaling Great Wall is not only a tourist resort in Beijing, but it’s a bridge for people from all over the world to communicate with one another.
Location: north of Guangou Ancient Road, Jundu Mountain, Yanqing County, Beijing, 60 kilometers (37 miles) from Beijing downtown.
Opening times: 6:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Transport: bus (游) 2, (游) 3, (游) 4, (游) 5, (游) 8 and 1. In addition, a sightseeing bus at the gate of China History Museum will take you there.
Juyongguan Great Wall
Serving as a strategic pass for safeguarding Beijing in the Yuan (1206-1368) and the Ming (1368- 1644) dynasties, Juyongguan Great Wall is 60 kilometers (37 miles) from Beijing city center. Juyongguan Pass was a vital transport line from Dadu (present Beijing, ancient capital of the Yuan Dynasty) to Shangdu (presently Duolun of Inner Mongolia) in the Yuan Dynasty (1206-1368), during which the emperors frequently visited it; hence, a number of temporary palaces, temples and gardens were built along the wall.
Juyongguan Great Wall has left us numerous cultural relics during 2,000 years, including Watch towers, barns, archways, temples, and beacon towers, which is just like a splendid painting vividly showcasing ancient culture and art of China. Decorated with Buddhist images and scriptures, the extant Cloud Platform was the original pedestal of Guojie Pagoda, which witnesses the communication between the Tibetan ethnic people and the Han ethnic people.
Most cultural relics of Juyongguan Great Wall were damaged owing to unceasing wars, and Juyongguan Archaized Street has been restored and a number of tourist facilities such as parking lots, hotels, restaurants, stores and fitness centers have built successively built along Juyongguan Great Wall.
Location: Juyongguan Village, Nankou Town, Changping District, Beijing
Opening times: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. from April 1 to October 31; 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. from November 1 to March 31
Transport: bus 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 919
Mutianyu Great Wall
Built in the Ming Dynasty (1368- 1644), Mutianyu Great Wall links Juyongguan Great Wall in the west and Gubeikou Great Wall in the east, and Mutianyu Pass was built in the 2nd year (1404) year of the Emperor Yongle’s reign in the Ming Dynasty (1368- 1644). Mutianyu Great Wall neighbors Honglou Temple, where the red leaves are extremely beautiful in autumn. Mutianyu Great Wall was built on the steep cliffs, which is about 7 to 8 meters (23 to 26 feet) tall and 4 to 5 meters (4.4 to 5.5 yards) wide with crenels opened on both sides.
Surrounded by mountains and peaks, the granite-structured Mutianyu Great Wall is unique in style, where the beacon towers are densely distributed, and it takes on different looks seasonally. The mountain flowers are in full blooms in spring, the streams murmur at the foot of mountains in summer, the maple leaves are as red as fire in autumn, and the wall is covered with white snow and presents a typical scene of north China in winter.
Location: Mutianyu Village, Huairou District, Beijing
Opening times: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Transport: bus 916, 936, (游) 6 and (游) 16
Simatai Great Wall
Starting at Wangjing Tower (Watching-Capital Tower) in the east and ending at Houchuankou in the west, the 5.4-kilometer (3.4 -mile) long Simatai Great Wall is uniquely designed and novelly structured, along which 35 watchtowers are available.
Simatai Great Wall is the only ancient architectural site preserving the original appearance of the Ming Dynasty (1368 -1644), which was inscribed on the world heritage site list by the UNESCO in 1987. The highest point of Simatai Great Wall is the Fairy Tower, which is accessible through the 100-meter (328-feet) tall “heavenly ladder”. Standing on the top of the tower and overlooking the cliffs at your feet offer visitors fantastic views of the undulating peaks and the vast North China plain.
Location: Gubeikou Town, northeast of Miyun County, Beijing, with 120 kilometers (75 miles) from Beijing downtown
Opening times: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Transport: bus 970, 980 and 987
Gubeikou Great Wall
Gubeikou Great Wall backs on Panlong Mountain (Curling Dragon Mountain) and Wohu Mountain (Crouching Tiger Mountain) and faces Qingfeng Peak (Fresh Breeze Peak) and Diecui Peak (Lush Greenery Peak). The Chao River runs northward at the foot of Gubeikou Great Wall, over which three sluice gates astride magnificently. Gubeikou Great Wall is 15 kilometers long (9 miles) with 84 fortresses evenly distributed along its way, highlighted by the General Fortress and Twenty-Four Crenel Fortress.
Gubeikou Great Wall was an strategic barrier of Beijing during the Song (960 -1279), Yuan (1206 -1368) and the Ming (1368- 1644) Dynasties, which was the only way for the envoys of the Song Dynasty (960 -1279) to visit the Liao Empire (907 -1125), and it was the must-pass way from Dadu (presently Beijing) to Shangdu (presently Inner Mongolia) during the Yuan Dynasty (1206-1368). The present Gubeikou Great Wall was built in the Ming Dynasty (1368- 1644), where the main scenic spots include Temple of Yang Linggong, Panlong Mountain and Site of War of Resistance Against Japan.
Location: Gubeikou Town, Miyun County, Beijing
Opening times: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Transport: bus 25, 970, 980 and 987
Jinshanling Great Wall
Built by General Xu Da in the first year (1368) of the Emperor Hongwu Period and renovated by General Qi Jiguang in the first year (1567) of the Emperor Longqing’s reign in the Ming Dynasty (1368 -1644), the 10.5-kilometer (6.5-mile) long Jinshanling Great Wall starts at Longlingkou and ends at Wangjing Tower (Watching Capital Tower), along which 67 fortresses, 2 beacon towers and 5 passes are distributed, and it is the best-preserved of its kind among all the Ming-era great walls.
Jinshanling Great Wall is a strongly fortified defending system, which is made up of watchtowers, emplacements and crenels, and visitors can fully feel its magnificence by standing on the top of the wall. In addition, an 800 -meter (875 -yard) long cableway has been developed for visitors on Jinshanling Great Wall, and various recreational activities such as going-kart race and crazy bus are available as well.
Location: in the intersection of Miyun County of Beijing and Luanping County of Hebei Province
Opening times: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Transport: bus 980 and the sightseeing bus from Beijing Dongzhimen will take you there
Koujian Great Wall
The W-shaped Koujian Great Wall winds among peaks and valleys, which is structured with magnesium limestones, and it’s a hot tourist site for visitors, especially for photographers. Koujian Great Wall is linked to Mutianyu Great Wall, where the famous scenic spots include the Hilt Fortress (Daoba Fortress), the Gate of Hell, the Dragon Pond and the Site of Ancient Kiln. In the north of the Dragon Pond nestles a large rainbow trout farm. The ideal times to visit Koujian Great Wall is from June to October.
Location: Badaohe Village, northwest of Huairou County, Beijing
Opening times: 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Transport: bus 916 from Beijing Dongzhimen will take you there