China – Mutianyu Great Wall

We woke up to the first snow of Beijing winter! We were in for a lucky day it seemed.

Snow in Beijing!

Snow in Beijing!

Our new friend, Qin Shi Huang (most famously known as the first Emperor of the Qin Dynasty and whose tomb was guarded by the Terracotta Warriors) was kind enough to not only grant us one Bucket List item, but TWO!
The Great Wall of China.

Mutianyu Great Wall

Mutianyu Great Wall

The ‘original’ wall was begun over 2000 years ago, when separate walls built by independent kingdoms to keep out warrior nomads, were linked together during Emperor Qin She Huang’s unification of China. Over the years, sections fell into disrepair, others were built upon and rebuilt. The majority of the remaining wall comes from the Ming Dynasty, complete with guard towers along its length. However, it ultimately failed to keep out Chinggis Khaan (Genghis Khan) and his Manchu armies from establishing foreign rule in China for over two and a half centuries.

Ming Dynasty Guard Towers

Ming Dynasty Guard Towers

Mutianyu is a 2250m long granite section of wall from the Ming Dynasty, a few hours bus ride from Beijing. As one of the best-preserved sections of the Great Wall, it is popular. However not as touristy as other parts, such as Badaling. Mutianyu stretches over rolling hills, presenting the postcard-perfect Great Wall snaking into the distance.

Restored section of Mutianyu

Restored section of Mutianyu

What makes Mutianyu special is, as well as a restored section (complete with pedestrian friendly stairs, handrails and a cable car), there are non-restored sections branching off of it.

Restored section of Mutianyu

Pedestrian friendly, but still pretty steep

Of course, these areas are signed-off as off-limits. But that didn’t stop two adventurous Aussies from exploring the REAL Great Wall.

What sign?

What sign?

We found a branch of the wall that was in ruins. Grass and trees were still growing all over it. As we ventured further, we navigated obstacles, crumbled sections and steep drop-offs.DSC07370DSC07363DSC07375We were rewarded with amazing views of the wall in its natural state.
In ruins.DSC07409

There was something magical about witnessing the Great Wall of China in this way. We were free to explore and enjoy it all to ourselves.

Unrestored section of Mutianyu

Unrestored section of Mutianyu

As the weather began to worsen, we made our way back.

Views from the Guard Towers

Views from the Guard Towers

Cannon on the Great Wall

Cannon on the Great Wall

But not before reflecting on the first Wonder of the World we had experienced.

Wonder of the World #1

Wonder of the World #1

And our third Bucket List item completed!

Walk the Great Wall of China

Walk the Great Wall of China

Visited 7th February 2014.

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About starksepicadventure

We are Andrew and Lakshi Starks, young married couple from Melbourne, Australia. We are travelling around the world on our Starks Epic Adventure!
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