The Great Wall takes about an hour's drive from
the city district to reach the wall located northwest of Beijing.
The section was built on the Badaling Mountains over 1,000 meters
above sea level. Juyongguan Pass, one of many such gates along the
wall, guards the Badaling mountain pass. The wall, posing a strategic
barrier, extends into the distance in both directions from this
pass along the mountain ridges.
Construction of the wall began in the seventh
century B.C. when separate feudal states in northern China built
barriers against invasions by neighbouring states along their borders
and when three fairly large ducal states, Yan, Zhao, and Qin, built
walls on their northern borders, to ward off incursions by slave
owners among a nomadic nationality known as Xiongnu. In the third
century B.C. when Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of Qin, unified
China, he had the separate sections of walls linked together to
form the basis of the present Great Wall. Repairs during successive
dynasties finally put the wall into its present form in the Ming
Dynasty. Starting from Shanhaiguan Pass at Bohai Bay in the east
end, the wall rises and falls, twists and turns along the mountains,
crossing valleys, traversing Hebei, Beijing, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Inner
Mongolia, Ningxia and Gansu, running over 6,700 kilometres before
reaching Jiayuguan Pass at the west end.
The magnitude of the engineering feat of construction
of the Great Wall is even more impressive considering that it was
not simply built with earth but with finely trimmed stones and grey
bricks. The wall averaged 7.8 metres in height and 5.8 metres in
width at the top-wide enough for five horses or 18 people to walk
along it abreast. One estimate has it that 180 million cubic metres
of packed earth and 60 million cubic metres of bricks were used
to construct the wall. Just to move these materials up to the worksite
along the meandering mountain paths was an extremely difficult task,
let alone manufacturing the bricks.
Cloud Taoist Temple
Center "Water Cube"
Stadium "Bird's Nest"