Monday, October 20, 2008

Beijing Day 2 - Great Wall

Great Wall
Originally uploaded by jimwink

On our second day in Beijing we set out for the Great Wall. It is about an hour and a half drive from where we were staying. We leave the hotel at 7:00 in the morning and pick up a few other people who signed up for the same tour that we did. After gathering everyone together we head north to the Simatai section of the wall.

The Simatai section is about 5km (3 miles) long and has 35 beacon towers. Each tower would accommodate between 10-20 soldiers. If any tower or part of the wall was attacked they would start a signal fire. Other towers seeing the fire would also start a fire and then join to defend the wall. In a very short amount of time several hundred warriors could be summoned to help.

The Simatai section was constructed under the supervision of Qi Jiguang, a famous general in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Also it is said that this is the only part of the Great Walls that still has the original appearance of the Ming Dynasty.

After spending a couple of hours there(not long enough but we were with a tour. Next time we will hire a driver), we went back to town and had the bus drop us off near Tiananmen Square. It was hard to say if there were fewer people but it was neat to see at night.

Click on the picture to see the rest.

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