The Great Wall of China is far from being just a wall that can be seen from the cosmos. It’s a state of mind.
After hundreds of years when emperors from countless Chinese dynasties made gates to prevent nomadic peoples from entering their vast territories, the Great Wall of China can be visited today by anyone arriving in Beijing, at any time. And the world waited so long to be able to get there, more like the hordes that the emperors feared. Only now, people are not going anymore to conquer it, but to see it and marvel.
One of the Seven New Wonders of the World – The Great Chinese Wall is the largest construction in the whole world. The wall was built to defend the northern border of China from the nomadic peoples. Its history dates from the years 770 – 256 BC. Hr., when the emperors of the state built defensive devices around the border. Over the years, many emperors have renovated and rebuilt the Great Wall, but the largest work took place in the Ming dynasty, 500 years ago.
I knew that any visit to Beijing without a walk on the Great Chinese Wall is absolutely incomplete. Although the first time when I arrived here was in January, when I was 24 and the temperatures of -25 degrees had not helped me to explore as much as I wanted, the second time I knew I had to make the most of it.
Once you arrive in Beijing, it is quite easy to get to the Great Wall, the nearest point of visit being at 80 km from the city – a one and a half hour drive. From there you can climb the stairs, or with a kind of cable car.
The price for cable car is 5 euros. On foot, it’s free and healthy. But the entrance ticket itself costs 5 euros and you have to pay it regardless.
The price varies depending on the options:
Up there, the Great Wall goes up and down as you see with your eyes. More specifically, 5000 km.
Whether it’s summer or winter, the place is crowded with tourists. Young people with cameras around their necks, ladies in dresses and heels, athletes competing on the steps trying not to lose their breath, or strangers who marvel at everything, everyone is trying to capture as much as possible in their phone’s memory. It’s illegal to go home with a piece of the wall, but that’s what happens sometimes.
For the descent, the Chinese found a funny alternative – a slide with a kind of sled with a handle. The price it is also around 5 euros.
There are places in this big world that you have to get to see at least once in your life. In some of them you would always come back with pleasure, in others you just want to check them out and see what makes them so special.
If you would ask the Chinese, they would tell you that unless you went to the Great Wall at least once in your life, you are not a real man – “bu dao Changcheng fei haohan”. And I can tell you that there is some truth in that. The Great Chinese Wall is a state of mind that you can feel in only one place in this great world.
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