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CHINA- the Great Wall of China- Beijing Tour- Travel

2017-06-30 10:25:04 | views

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Before the dawn of history, several ancient civilizations (Egypt, China, Mesopotamia) began their life's journey moving through time to evolve into the countries we know today. I am attempting to trace China's turbulent history and reveal the secrets behind the walls, the men and women who murdered to gain power, and her ancient culture.

No trip to Beijing is complete without a visit to the Great Wall! One of the wonders of the world, the Great Wall is the only man made structure on earth visible to the naked eye from the moon. Standing at the top of the wall we ponder the question, "How was it possible for the ancient Chinese to build this incredible structure?" During my first visit to China, my crew and I laboriously climbed the 1,116 steps with all of the heavy video camera equipment to tape of my television program. On my second trip, we were grateful to discover the cable car ride to the top.

 

Originally the wall's construction began during China's Warring Period (403-221 B.C.) by ruler of individual feudal states. China's first Emperor Qin Shi-Huang-Di, unified China at the end of the 3rd century B.C. and ordered his generals to force 300,000 soldiers, political prisoners, and civilians to work joining the existing walls over a period of ten years. Built of huge granite slabs, special-sized bricks, and earth, the Great Wall is an architectural masterpiece rivaled only by the great pyramids of Egypt. The top of the wall is wide enough for five horsemen to ride abreast or ten men to walk side by side. Guards patrolled the wall between outposts at a distance of no more than 1-2 days march. The Chinese could respond as quickly as 48 hours to their enemies' attempts to scale the wall. The Great Wall appeared to be impenetrable to invaders, but as history attests, it was ineffectual.

 

Beyond the wall lived the Mongols, Huns, and other enemies in the North.

 

The Huns were cruel to their children the day they were born. They cut the cheeks of males with a sword so that before the child received their mother's milk, the boy must learn to endure wounds. Atilla was known as "a lover of war", his name "Scourge of God" paints the image of what they represented. Known for their violence, the Hun's reputation preceded their arrival. Just hearing Atilla's name or knowing the Huns were coming brought fear to everyone unfortunate enough to be near their path. China successfully repelled the Hun's military advances and avoided joining the long list of their conquests.

 

Between the 6th and 14th centuries, invaders preferred to bribe sentries rather than scale the wall. By the Ming Dynasty, the Mongols and Manchus threatened to invade again and the walls were rebuilt with new towers and fortifications.

 

China's rich natural resources and high standard of living enticed the nomads just as the Siren's songs lured sailors to their island (Homer's Odyssey).

 

China was a valuable prize if any of their enemies succeeded. Ever watchful, the problem of defending China's vast borders became an enormous task.

 

The Great Wall can be visited from several locations around Beijing. Just 50 miles northwest of Beijing, Badaling (Badaling Changcheng) has become its most popular viewing point. A second section of the wall opened in 1986, at Mutianyu (Mutianyu Changcheng), offers a less crowded panorama. The Great Wall, also known as Wan Li Chang Cheng and the 10,000 Li Long Wall (Li equals half a mile), extends from China's East coast on the Bohai Sea to the West at Jiayuguan Pass in the Gobe Desert. The Great Wall serpentines for nearly 4,000 miles as it crosses mountain ranges, coastal plains and deserts.

 

The Great Wall is just one of the many attractions in Beijing, China. After stopping in Beijing three times during trips to other parts of China, there is STILL so much more I would like to see.

 

For tourist information, call (888)-760-8218. The China National Tourist Office, 350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 6413, Empire State Building, New York City, New York.