The Great Wall of China is undoubtedly on the bucket list for every visitor to China. It’s one of the most prestigious man-made architectures in ancient times in the world. The present-day Great Wall displays boundless information of architecture, history, arts, military, life and more.
Previously visitors went to Badaling section which is the first section restored and close to downtown Beijing. As tourism is booming in China, Badaling is becoming very crowded and reduces the experiences. Mutianyu section is a great alternative though it’s also busy in peak season in summer.
The Mutianyu Great Wall,80 km northeast of Beijing, enjoys a long history and is part of the glorious culture of China. It connects Juyongguan Pass in the west and Gubeikou Great Wall in the east. The wall was first built in Northern Qi Dynasty (550-557). In the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), under the supervision of General Xu Da, construction of the present-day Mutianyu Great Wall began on the foundation of the wall ruins of Northern Qi. The Mutianyu Pass was erected in 1404. It served as the northern protective screen, protecting the capital and imperial tombs for generations.
Mutianyu Great Wall is relatively untouched – it is less commercialized, sees fewer tourists and has undergone less restoration work. Standing on top of the wall allows for a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside , which is planted with fruit and chestnut orchards, and dotted with old pines.
Mutianyu Great Wall winds 22 km through lofty mountains and high ridges, many sections of which were made of granite. The unique structure makes the wall almost indestructible. It measures 7 to 8 meters high and 4 to 5 meters wide. Both of the wall’s inner and outer sides have parapets to defend against enemies coming from the two sides. Below the parapets, there are square embrasures, the top of which are designed in an arc structure, different from the traditional round embrasures. Both the inner and outer parapets of the Mutianyu Great Wall are crenellated with merlons, a feature quite rare among sections of the Great Wall.
Mutianyu Great Wall has 22 watch towers distributed at close intervals along the wall. They are located not only in the main wall but also at the distinctive “branch cities”. Branch cities were built on the hill ridge against the inner or outer side of the wall. They measure from several yards to dozens of yards across. On the northwest over 3,281-feet hills, lies the peak called “Ox Horn Edge”. On the steep and lofty top, there are two sections named “Flying Eagle Flies Facing Upward” and “Arrow Lock”. What is more rarely seen on the southeast side is a general gateway platform guarded by three watch towers together. In locations of strategic importance, barriers were set up to reinforce the defense capabilities. Mutianyu Great Wall really deserves to be the archetype of the Ten-Thousand-Li Great Wall.
Besides its strategically important location and compact layout, the Mutianyu Great Wall is also famous for the breath-taking beautiful scenery. Woods cover over ninety-six percent of the total scenic area. The wall presents different aspects of beauty in the four seasons. Flowers bloom all over the mountains in spring. Grasses dress the hillside green in summer. Trees are laden with sweet fruits in autumn, and especially in October, leaves are turning red or yellow, touching the mountain tops with gold. In winter, the wall is covered by snow, making it seem more magnificent. The pine trees around the wall are well-known. There are more than 20 pines over 300 years old and about 200 pines over 100 years old. Besides, spring water at the foot of the wall tastes pure and fragrant, much appreciated by visitors.
Mutianyu Great Wall was restored between 1983-1986 and opened to public on May Day in 1986, the second Great Wall section opened to tourists after Badaling. Mutianyu Great Wall passes through beautiful forested hills with streams.