The Great Wall of China By Aashish Vaidya
The Great Wall of China in the Juyongguan area lies just north of Beijing. This area of the Great Wall is especially popular with local as well as foreign tourists. The construction of the Great Wall of China, according to historic accounts may have started as early as the seventh century BCE.
Constructed to provide defense against invaders, the Great Wall was also used as border control including collection of taxes along the Silk Route. It also served to control migration of people. It has been rebuilt, maintained and expanded over many generations and many dynasties,
Much of the existing Great Wall, was largely built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 CE). The Great Wall with all its branches, is an impressive architectural feat. According to some surveys, it measures over 13,000 miles (or over 21,000 km). UNESCO designated The Great Wall of China, a World Heritage Site in 1987. The New7Wonders Foundation, through a popularity contest, listed the Wall as one of the New 7 manmade Wonders in 2007.
Visiting the Great Wall
The Juyongguan section of the wall protected capital Beijing. The day we visited, a haze hung around the whole area. It wasn’t quite apparent, if this was natural or if it was the smog.
When visiting the Wall, it is best to dress in layers. The exertion of going up the Wall makes you uncomfortable even in pleasant mid-60s temperature. The early and mid-mornings are especially popular time for visitors. During our visit, we saw see many tourists, packed on the narrow wall, negotiating the steep steps.
Visiting the Juyongguan area of the Wall is a great experience as we witness the beautiful colors of autumn along the mountainside. The watchtowers that dot the mountainside are also a special treat.
A myth persists that the Wall can be seen from outer space. Unfortunately, just like other manmade objects, it is only visible in low earth orbit on a very clear day. Of course, the best way to experience the awesome sight of the Great Wall, is to visit it.
Maybe, the next best way to enjoy it, is through photographic wall art or other objects featuring the artwork. Visit the China Gallery to explore these and other images from China.
The Great Wall of China is impressive to witness, in person. It is marvel of engineering and architecture. And an awesome testament to human labor, and ingenuity that went into building it.