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Great wall and the dragon

Great wall and the dragon
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This Chinese proverb literary translates in English to ‘you are not a real man until you have climbed the Great Wall.’ Snaking around almost whole north and central China, the Great Wall was declared as a world heritage site by UNESCO in the year 1987. It stretches for a whopping 6,400 kilometres approximately, which, in turn makes it the largest human-made structure ever! Surviving for centuries it still stands intact, fresh and a synonym for the red nation.

Being one of the wonders of the world, it is a natural major tourist attraction of the Dragon nation. Beijing, the capital city serves as the best and the most convenient place in China if one wants to plan a visit to the wall.

Badaling section of the wall is the nearest one in Beijing, so most of the tourists prefer thronging to this section, thus making it extremely crowded. The extent of the madding crowd is such that it is sometimes aptly dubbed as the great wall of tourists! The excitement of seeing the great wall is largely diluted by the long ticketing queues and the search for a single perfect photograph.

People are in fact very less informed about another branch of the wall near Beijing - The Mutianyu section.

Just 45 miles from Beijing, the serenity of this place leaves you spellbound. The wall was first built in Northern Qi Dynasty (550-557 AD) but in Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) it was rebuilt to increase the defensive potential. It served as the northern protective screen, guarding the capital and the imperial mausoleums for generations from the famed Mongol invaders. It has been estimated that somewhere in the range of two million workers, of which around half of them met an unfortunate death, were involved in the centuries long construction of the mega structure.

This section of the Great Wall is quite different from that of Badaling, as it is narrower and largely untouched from the masses. This place gives you ample amount of time and space to take long walks along The Great Wall and admire the breathtaking scenery as well. The wall presents different aspects of splendor and exquisiteness in the four seasons. This section effortlessly takes you back to history and feel to the place is just so pristine.

There are a few local shops which sell the merchandise related to Great Wall in particular, ranging from T-shirts to key chains they have it all. Buying a souvenir is always special but one should be always aware about the gimmicks of inflated prices, bargaining up to even less than half the original is generally okay with the shopkeepers.

A rope way which connects you directly to the wall is available. But, if you want some adventure and the satisfaction of actually ‘climbing up’ The Great Wall, you can take the stairs which adds a lot to the magical feel this place abounds.

There is a Sled named ‘Speed’ which swoops you down from the summit to the bottom in seconds acts as a bonus!

In short, visiting Mutianyu is a priceless experience.

Bus: The Tour Bus (No. 936) runs between 07:00 and 15:00 on every one hour from Dongzhimen Outer bus station to Mutianyu Great Wall.

Cab: One can get it anywhere from the city, or ask the hotel reception to arrange for it.
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