Great Wall at Jinshanling

The term 'Great Wall' is something of a misnomer as there is a net of walls of varying ages all designed to provide protection from intruders. Some of these walls are 2,500 years old, but in general 'the' wall was constructed in the C15th and C16th. Even so it is not a simple linear structure but a complex of walls, forts and signal stations. With a total length of some 4,000 miles it is extremely impressive. Sections near Beijing, especially that at Badaling where all the tours go, are congested and heavily commercialised. We went to the quieter, well preserved section at Jinshanling and were fortunate enough to have it largely to ourselves. This section was first built around 1375 then rebuilt in the 1560s, it was so well built it has not been touched since beyond minor work.

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