So so excited we were about to reach our destination!!!! YES the GREAT Wall of China was where we were heading!!!
Now entering the GREAT Wall Entrance (“Changcheng Lu Ko” in Chinese)!!
The Great Wall of China, one of the 7 Wonders of the World, was enlisted in the World Heritage by UNESCO in 1987.
The construction of the Great Wall started during the Spring, Autumn & Warrring States Period on 7th Century BC, having a History of more than 2500 years. Many dukedoms built Walls in Central China to protect themselves & their Northen Territories. When Qin Shihuang, the 1st Emperor in Chinese history, unified China & established the 1st Centralised Feudal State in China, he decided to have the Walls linked up & extended.
Qin Shihuang ordered that the Northern Sections of the Walls built by the different dukedoms be linked up together into one defensive bulwark against the Northern Nomadic Tribes. Emperor Qin Shihuang sent General Meng Tian, with an army of 300000 forced labourers, for the mission & built part of the new Great Wall called the Qin Great Wall, from Lintao in Gansu Province in the West, to Liaodong in the East.
The Han Great Wall started from Lop Nur in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region to Liaodong in the East, stretching about 10000 km (20000 Li in which one Li = 500 Metres), thus the Great Wall is called the “Ten Thousand Li Long Wall” (“Wan Le Changcheng” in Chinese). In the following Dynasties (except the Tang Dynasty where the Great Wall was all within the boundary of the Great Tang Empire), the Great Wall was under constant construction & repairing. Today, we can still find & see remnants of the Great Wall scattered in the Northwest of China (some of which I’ve actually seen when I was travelling in the Silk Road 2 years ago).
The Ming Dynasty was the last Dynasty in the Chinese History when large scale Construction of the Great Wall took place. And most of the Walls we see today were built in the Ming Dynasty. The Ming Great Wall stretched from the Yalu River in the East to Jiayuguan in the West, covering a total length of more than 5000km. Today, however, Shanhaiguan Pass, also called the “First Pass under Heaven”, is considered as the Eastern end of the Great Wall cos the Section from Shanhaiguan Pass to the Yalu River was poorly built & maintained.
The Qing Dynasty Emperors did not continue building the Great Wall cos they adopted a new policy by builing a Summer Resort in Chengde to entertain the Mongolian & Tibetan nobles to ensure a peaceful boundary.
All in all, about a million people (Prisoners, Soldiers & local People of one-fifth of China’s population) were involved in the Great Wall Projects, & it took more than 10 years. The Great Wall traverses many Mountains & Gullies, and a countless of Inner Walls, Outer Walls, Fortified Towers, Signal Beacon Towers, Fortifications & Garrisons, using an estimated 180 million cubic metres of earth. The Great Wall traverses provinces of Liaoning, Hebei, Beijing, Tianjin, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Shaanxi & Gansu. The bricks, rocks & lime used to build the Great Wall had to be carried up the Mountains at the cost of back-breaking labour. Goats & donkeys were used to carry the earth & bricks in baskets, & some of the rocks were moved by slopes by means of rolling rods & hoisting bars. So you can imagine how much the million fored labourers had suffered – giving the Great Wall another name ”The Longest Graveyard in the World”! And it’s believed by some & many that the Great Wall is the only man-made construction visible by the naked eyes from the Moon!
Below shows the Map of the GREAT Wall of China :
List of the GREAT Wall of China : (1)Liaoning (2)Hebei (3)Tianjin (4)Beijing (5) Shanxi (6)Inner Mongolia (7)Shaanxi (8)Ningxia (9)Gansu
In Beijing, the Great Wall is about 630km, with 6 Sections of the Great Wall being opened to visitors. These 6 Sections are : Badaling, Jugongguan, Simatai, Mutianyu, Jinshanling & Gubeikou.
Two old Chinese sayings that go about the Great Wall of China are – “If you haven’t been to the Great Wall, you haven’t seen China”, & “If you haven’t been to the Great Wall, you’re Not a real Man” (or “Bu Dao Changcheng Fei Hao Han” in Chinese or 不到长城非好汉)!
In ancient China, military information was conveyed through horsesiders & Beacon Towers. Soldiers raised sheeps & cattles to eat & took their dung to burn, sometimes using wolf dung – that was why the Beacon Tower smoke is called “Lanyan” (meaning Wolves Smoke). When War was coming, the soldiers would light the fire wood to tell the next Watch Tower that dangers approached, so every Watch Tower would then get the message one after another until every soldier was fully alarmed & ready to fight.
We passed by the above Juyongguan Toll Gate & arrived at the below Entrance of the Juyongguan Pass.
Juyongguan Pass is 20 km North of Changping County, about 60km Northwest of Beijing – a renowed Pass of the Great Wall of China.
Juyongguan Pass is roughly circular with a perimeter of about 4,142 metres, consisting of 2 Passes; “Nan Kou” in the South, & “Badaling” in the North.
In the middle of Juyongguan Pass lies a high Platform called “Cloud Platform”, which is made of White marble. In the Yuan Dynasty, 3 Stone Towers were built on the Platform, but they were burnt down at the end of Yuan Dynasty. Later, a Temple called “Tai’an” was built on the site, but it was burnt down during the reign of Emperor Kang Xi of Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), after which only the Platform remained. Inside the platform is an arched Doorway, & on the walls of the Doorway are carvings of the statues of 4 Heavenly Gods & Sutra Scriptures.
The extant Juyongguan Pass was built in the Ming Dynasty. In the Qing Dynasty, reconstruction work was neglected & In 1992 and 2000, the Pass was renovated.
Guess who is the above couple standing on the Great Wall of China? Well, they’re my Mom & dad – their photo taken during their 42-day travelling Trip to China back in 1982!! Wow that was some 26 years back! Well, I’ve always seen this photo of Mom & Dad since then, an enlarged framed up Portrait sitting in our Family Hall or on the side table of my Parents’ bedroom. I would ask Mom & Dad questions of the Great Wall, & they would tell me all sorts of stories about them. I remember Mom always say “It’s very tiring climbing up the Great Wall, cos the Wall is so long & high up & very steep too some of the steps!! And you’ll have to be very carefull when climbing & must hold on tightly to the sides of the Wall!!” etc etc…..And I’ve always stared at the Portrait (at Mom & Dad of course, & especially the GREAT Wall behind them!!) dreaming of one day myself standing on that MAJESTIC Wall too!
YES YES!! Hooray Hooray!! I was finally at the Great Wall – actually not quite yet but very very soon I would be stepping on it!! I was so excited I just couldn’t wait to take photos of the magnificent GREAT Wall that I took some shots of it from where I was walking from the carpark!
A visit to the Toilet first before hiking on! Even the Toilet’s beautifully painted & looks so traditional & grand!
Entering the Great Wall entrance now, Dear standing infront of it!
Dear & I first stopped to have our photo taken by some Tourist-photo-taking vendor at the foot of the Great Wall.
YES YES!!! I was finally standing on the GREAT Wall….PRAISE the lord!! Praise the Lord!!! Dreams do come true )))
One more snapshot of Dear & myself by our tour guide Wang Jing before she left us on our journey up the Great Wall!
Beginning of our Great Wall journey…..
More photos of myself standing on the Great Wall…….heheh those were truely my long-awaited moments!
The feeling was so GREAT!! I walked on very very fast, almost running cos I couldn’t wait to get up there on top!! And I was telling Dear (who was here at the same Wall just last May during his Business Trip) “How come you said the steps were very steep, NOT true what……see, they look fine here leh?!!!” (referring to the below Steps) when I first saw them……..Ahar if only I knew later on……
Wow, there were even Bing Ma Yong (Terracotta Warriors) around – How COOL!! I’ve fallen in love with them ever since I first laid my eyes on them in Xian while I was travelling on the Silk Road 2 years back!!
After being satisfied with the photos taken with the Bing Ma Yong, we continued on our hike up the Great Wall.
We soon came upon this below Signboard telling us about the “Love Locks” of the Great Wall. Throughout the years, couples who visit the Juyongguang Section of the Great Wall would buy or bring their ”Love Locks”, lock them to the long miles of Chains along the Wall with Red Ribbons, & throw the keys over the Wall as Symbols of Undying & ever Lasting Love.
In 1999, there was a mass Wedding Ceremony in celebration of the “China Millennium Wedding”. A thousand Chinese men & women got married at this Section of the Juyongguang of the Great Wall of China. Walking down the isle at Juyonguang Pass was a great blessing to these coupples, & the Great Wall was their witness of marriage. As a Symbol of their Love & Commitment to each other forever, each & every of the wedded couples also had their “Love Locks” fastened to the Chains by the sides of the Great Wall.
Below photo shows the many joyous Millennium Wedding Couples at the Great Wall :
Dear happily standing by the Wedding Witness Board, infront of the Chain of many “Love Locks” :
If only I’d known about these “Love Locks” then Dear & I would have gotten one earlier to have ours fastened to the Chain too!! Well, not that we need some kind of confirmation of our love, but the thought of fastening & locking & throwing the key over the Wall of such an Oldest Grandest creation of Mankind could be really fun & interesting I think!!
Up to this level of the Great Wall was still fine & fun…..”Hey it’s not tiring at all like you said!! It’s so fun walking here!!” to Dear I kept shouting excitedly while walking up the Wall, & stopping now & then here & there for photos taking.
The views we saw while walking up – be it ahead, backwards, or surrounding us – everywhere was beautiful sceneries of the Great Walls, its Towers, the surrounding Mountains, the bottom Villages, Trees & Clouds!! I was feeling at the Top of the World by then!!
Cool beautiful views from where I was standing above the below Steps. And well so far so good, though the Steps were getting a little steeper & bit higher but to me they were still alright……so as happy as I thought…….
There were many people here standing around to take a rest, or for some already given up climbing further up the Wall, or just taking in the surrounding gorgeous sceneries, & most of them were watching the Steps ahead of them in AWE!! Haha I was one of them!!
Look at the Steps below!! Now…..this was the point where everything started out differently…….these Steps began to be slightly – well pretty much actually, higher & steeper here……….& for the 1st time of my Great Wall hike I began to feel “it” – it being what my Mom & Dear used to tell me before, that “It’s not easy to climb the Great Wall cos the Steps are very High & Steep!!!” Well yea yea….I’ve heard them tens of times……may be hundreds (could still hear them echoing into my ears then!!) but well, guess I’ve never taken in their words seriously……..or given them much thoughts………..or rather, never really believed them…………
Just look at the way the following people – the “Black” man, “Hatted” lady & the “Bunned-up Hair” lady – the way they were getting up & down the Steps!! It’s like you could see & sense their extra “exerted” strength to bring themselves up the Steps, & the “cautious” strength to come down the Steps ha?! That was what I was trying to say – the “it” feeling right there!!!
Anyway, I started walking up these Steps too, & suddenly there came a Swamp of Crowd from up & down all surrounding me while Dear was snaping photos of me!
I was caught in between the massive crowds – all making me feel a little dizzy all of a sudden!!
And Dear kept shouting “Hey can’t take cos not nice so many people around you blocking you can’t see you la!!” Well, here I come with my raised 2 arms, I told Dear to just SNAP, no problem cos it would be nice showing all this Crazy GREAT Wall Madness!!
Dear & I continued climbing up the Steps…….”WOW, now I can really feel it!!” I kept telling myself in my mind, at the same time telling Dear that I believed his words then!! Hahah!! The Steps were really very STEEP & they were very HIGH BIG Steps too for us ladies!! Being short & fat like I am, the Steps were really VERY VERY Huge & High for me I can tell you!! No wonder even Dear, who’s a big tall guy with big feets, could also complain about the Steps!! I admit I was beginning to feel defeated then……..
Worse still, I’ve this biggest fear of my life – Height Phobia!! Well, I don know when it all started, but I know I’ve been real afraid of heights since I was young - even just standing on a very high escalator looking down to the bottom of the building makes me scared!! Haha you must be feeling I’m ridiculous ha?!! Well, I did not exactly felt this way during a period of time when I was studying & backbacking in Australia some 10 years ago………..the I had hiked in forests, camped in the Wilderness, laid on the open nets of the sailing Yacht where the big ocean was just splashing below against my body, did Water Rafting, & even dived in the Great Barrier Reefs when I can’t even swim or float in water!! And I’d even almost sis Bungee Jumping then if not cos I was wearing a dress………See I was for some really very daring during those days not worrying a bit about height phobia!! But guess after mellowing down for some couple of years now I seem not as daring & as fearless as before……….or guess I’m getting real old now hahah that’s why!!
Well, see the above “White shoed” lady about to grasp the mental railing on the side of the Great Wall – well, actually I was also like her when I was walking up these Steps! Because of my fear of heights, I would tend to learn on the sides of the Wall or grab the mental railing for support whenever I felt like I was falling backwards down below!!
The crowds up & down the Steps surrounding me was constant making it kinda difficult for me to move up smoothly, so I stopped to take some photos instead :
There were huge groups of Caucasians coming up & some of them looked at me smiling broadly & one elderly started talking to me ”Wow, you’re wearing so RED today!! So Bright & Beautiful!!” & I replied “Oh, cos it’s an Auspicious day today being on the Great Wall, & Red is an Auspicious color that’s what I’m wearing Red today!!” to which we both laughed & parted our ways…..
In fact, from when I first started walking from the foot of the Great Wall earlier on, I’ve had smiling stares at me to which I’d just smile back…hehee very funny but guessed it must be cos I was wearing all red & my hair was also so red too!! In fact, there were some Caucasians whom I saw were snaping photos of me too – the visitors that day on the Great Wall seemed to really like my presence alot heheh!!
In fact, in the early morning when we first met our tour guide Wang Jing at our hotel lobby she had already commented on how pretty I was in total red, & that many Chinese were actually asking her the day before, during our tours from the Summer Palace to the Tiananmen Square, about me! They had all thought I was either Japanese or Korean cos I looked very fair & they all found me beautiful & very modern & adored my Red hair alot!! No wonder I also noticed many people turing their heads looking & staring at me & smiling at me constantly the whole of yesterday!
Actually since young, I’ve had always been mistaken for a Japanese or Korean or Indonesian especially when I was travelling abroad, but it was my very 1st time dyeing my hair so RED! Guess that made it even more convincing ha, though I don quite agree cos I’ve put on tons of weight now & to me Koreans & Japanese are all so slim hahah!!
More snapshots of the cool views from where we were standing on the Great Wall.
Dear posing on the Great Wall :
We climbed a little further up the Great Wall & stopped for more photos again, as well as to enjoy the sceneries a little. We were very lucky that we got a pretty bright sunny day as the Great Wall that day – the last time Dear was here it was cloudy, gloomy & dark!
We started walking up again after a while & I remember I was really feeling the tiredness of my 2 legs! And at the same time it was begining to feel more scary the higher I climbed cos of my height phobia & I kept telling Dear “Ha, I can’t take it already. My legs killing me….& I’m scared too…..”
And it was then that a middle-aged Chinese man who was coming up the Steps beside me told me in Chinese “Don be afraid, don be afraid, go on up there, go on up there, you can do it, you can do it!!” How touched I was with his words of encouragement towards me that I did brave on & preservered on a little longer……….to the point where I could see the 1st Tower of the Great Wall, as shown below :
Wow Wow I was really excited that I could finally see the Great World Tower!!! For a split second I almost couldn’t believe my eyes! Thanks to that Chinese man, I was really encouraged & pushed myself a little all the time!! I stopped to take more photos before heading up again!
I was going to the right, centre & left sides of the Great Wall to take my photos :
Then Dear & I started taking photos of each other with the beautiful views of the many mountains & housings far away behind us :
My poor Dear looked a bit exhausted – must be since he was carrying my bag & jacket all the way since the beginning of our walk up here! I didn’t realise until I saw all these photos back home - he was so sweet & never even breathed a word of complaint heheh!!
And what magnificent feelings we had standing up here overlooking the surrounding tranquil views!
Looking at the shortage of time given by our tour guide Wang Jing, & cos I still wanted to do some shopping at the foot of the Great Wall, we decided to call it quits! So sad, we practically gave up our climb of the Great Wall, by not even reaching the 1st Tower!!
Dear had actually made it alone to the 1st Tower last year when he was here, but then I could only stare high up at the Tower imagining myself up there, & wishing how nice & wonderful if I could be up there too just like he did last year, so that I could feel & see what he felt & saw when he was up there!
If only we were given more time that day I’m sure we would be able to at least make it to the 2nd Tower!
Cos we were running out of time, we decided the best we could do was to take more photos before heading downwards.
2 photos of myself (on the right & left side of the Great Wall) being “nearest” to the 1st Tower, which I could only be thankful for, at that moment, before we headed back downwards!
2 more photos of Dear with the mountainous backdrop while retreating our steps backwards down the Great Wall :
Out of sheer fun & memory sake, & for this once-in-a-lifetime momentoe of us being together on the Great Wall, I suggested Dear & I sit down on the Steps for a while to have our self-portraits of both of us taken. Besides, the Great Wall is meant to be for Great Lovers, & Dear & I are a couple of sweet loving lovers!! So here we are, the Great Wall Lovers, as I’ve put our photos together in the following short Slideshow :
Hope you like the Slideshow ) Well, we’re now heading down the Great Wall – see it’s pretty steep down there, & the below “Black” lady climbing up on the right – she was like most people i saw that day, panting for breadth while clinging onto the metal railing at the sides of the Wall :
Hiking down the magnificent Great Wall now :
Photo of the Merlon & Loophole, which are typical structures of the Great Wall that runs from one mountain ridge to another – here we can see 2 people walking down below through the Loophole.
I love how this following photo turned out – can you see that it’s actually Dear & I, with parts of our Shadows, holding hands together, walking down the Steps of the Great Wall, & ME (in the shadow) snaping this photo!! I think it looks very COOL & SPECIAL!!
See the below really steep Steps – you’ve to be extra careful & slow when walking down this steep slope! Most of us here would hold on to each other or the mental railing at the sides of the Great Wall while walking down!
I took more photos of the Merlons & Loopholes of the Great Wall – don know why but I’ve always been fascinated with them!!
See the long stretch of the Merlons & Loopholes that runs from here to the other far end of the mountain ahead :
Haha, I’ve always wanted to do this – learn against the Great Wall & have a photo taken like this :
This below photo looks kinda unique ha – like I was staring at the lady’s striped backside hahaha!! Actually I forgot what I was trying to do then!!
More photos snapshots while walking down the Great Wall :
Me learning against the wall of “Love Locks” chain :
Hey, the 1st Tower doesn’t really look that far high up & difficult to reach isn’t it from the below photo you must be thinking – which was exactly what I’d thought when 1st walking up this slope! But then wait till you’re further up from here then you’ll understand what I was trying to say – at least for a person like me who’s not very fit & has height phobia now that was a pretty tough task!
Just then, a young Caucasian man, who was walking up past me while I was walking down (& snaping photos at the same time, as usual), stopped to show me his Great Wall of China Painting Scroll to which I told him “Wow, that’s really beautiful”, & he said “Yea COOL - beautiful the Great Wall of China!!” Guess he must have just bought it at the foot of the Mountain!
As usual, how could I miss not taking one more photo of myself at the Great Wall – here it is below :
Souvenir Stores below :
We’re now back at the foot of the Great Wall, & seeing that there weren’t many people around us, we took more photos of ourselves :
We’ve now reached the bottom of the Great Wall :
And finally it was shopping time!
The feeling was so good being able to really shop to my hearts’ content!! It was actually my very 1st shopping spree ever since we arrived in Beijing! I was really satisfied!!
Dear carrying all my shopping bags!
And of course, being a lover of Souvenir Magnets, they were the first things I looked for in the above Souvenir Stores. Below is a Slideshow of the beautiful Great Wall of China Souvenir Magnets plus other Stuffs I bought for myself & family.
Below are more Great Wall of China Souvenir Magnets which I were to buy later at a Xinjiang
Restaurant Souvenirs Store :
I was really surprised to find the following Quilt at the above same Souvenirs Store
- I’ve always liked Quilts or Patched Blankets since young
(in fact I’ve now several pieces from USA, Australia, China & Singapore)!
And never did I expect to find such an exquisite Quilt at the foot of the Great Wall
(what with Pandas too which are my favourite Bears!!) – I was really very lucky!
I’m another lover of Dolls – all kinds of country & cultural Dolls attract me lots!! And this time, I got a Mogolian Doll from the Great Wall Souvenirs Store! Well, China has a total of 56 Nationalities, & the Mongolian Nationality is one of them! The Mongolian Nationality of 48 Millions mainly lives in the Mongolian Autonomous Region with their own language & characters. Their Religion is Tibetan Buddhism & they’re mainly engaged in stock raising & agriculture, with their main food supply the cattles, milk products & bread. The Mongolians usually live in Yurts & their houses in agriculture are mainly tite houses.
My Mongolian Doll from the Great Wall of China Souvenirs Store :
Below shows the Great Wall Jumpers & T-shirts of Dear & mine – actually Dear’s Jumper was purchased not here at the Great Wall but later on at our next destination! But both of our Jumpers were a size not very right for us – mine’s too big & his’s slightly small, but cos we both like the designs/prints alot we had to just get them!
We soon left the Juyongguang Pass of the Great Wall after all our puchases.
Passing by a Tourist photo-taking store by the carpark of the Juyongguang Pass :
One last photo of the magnificent GREAT Wall! See the below raised steps near the man - that was where Dear & I took our photo when we 1st arrived here!
Walking out of the Juyonguang Pass exit :
I believe the below chinese-looking building is a Cafe, looking at its signboard at the foot of the staircase!
Well, goodbye Great Wall, & thank you so much for such a wonderful beautiful hike! You just gave us a Once-in-a-Lifetime Invaluable memorable experience which we would treasure forever! And you made my sweetest Dream come true too!
To pen off, let me show you my Great Wall of China Book with Dear & my Portrait taken earlier on at the foot of the Great Wall. The book shows the many Great Walls of the different parts of China in the 4 Seasons, & of course there’s also a Certificate that officially states that we’d climbed the Great Wall in Beijingl!! Hooray Hooray!!
16 Responses to “Dear & I Walking the Magnificent Great Wall of China – Juyongguan Pass in Beijing”
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