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'The Piano Guys' scales the Great Wall for video shoot

Internet sensation, the Piano Guys are in China. The Utah-based group took some precious time off their Asian tour in Singapore and Malaysia to fulfil their China dream - shooting a music video on the Great Wall of China...

September 16, 2013
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Great Wall Forest Festival kicks off

The 2013 Yanqing Great Wall Forest Festival, the fourth edition of its kind, was held from August 24 to August 25 in the Tanglewood Music Valley at the foot of the Great Wall Badaling Section in Beijing's Yanqing County...

August 29, 2013
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Jet Team above the Great Wall

Aircraft of Breitling Jet Team, a famous European aerobatic team, perform above the Great Wall of the Jiayuguan Pass in northwest China's Gansu Province, Aug. 13, 2013...

August 16, 2013
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Unique section of the Great Wall draws in visitors

As people all know what the Great Wall looks like but did you know that some of it is built over water? The Jiumenkou section of the wall in Liaoning Province in North East China is famous for just that...

  August 09, 2013
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Simaitai Great Wall and Jinshanling Great Wall

Simatai Great Wall

Simatai Great Wall

Starting from Watching Beijing Tower to Hou-chuan-Kou, Simatai Great Wall extends 5.4 km with 35 beacon and watch towers. It is located at northeast of Mi-yun County, 120 km away from Beijing. It is featured with its original Great Wall style and steepness. It gradually became a popular destination for active travelers to trek along all the way to Jinshanling Great Wall.

Simatai Great Wall holds the access to Gubeikou, a strategic pass in the eastern part of the Great Wall. It was first built in early Ming Dynasty, and renovated by the Ming General Qi Ji-guang. Ingeniously conceived and uniquely designed, this section of Great Wall, inimitable and diversified, has incorporated the different characteristics of each section of the Great Wall. No wonder the famous specialist of Great Wall, Professor Luo Zhe-wen, says: "The Great Wall is the best of the Chinese buildings, and Simatai is the best of the Great Wall." UNESCO has designated Simatai Great Wall as one of the World Cultural Heritage sites.

Simatai Great Wall

Simatai Great Wall is divided by a valley (Simatai Reservoir, or Mandarin Duck Lake) into eastern and western parts. The western part appears gentle with 20 well-preserved watchtowers dotting along the wall. The eastern part is much steeper, following more rugged terrain that includes cliff edges and kilometer-high peaks. The 15 watchtowers are relatively closely spaced and provide spectacular views. Main attractions in the eastern part include Watching Beijing Tower, Fairy Tower, Heavenly Ladder and Sky Bridge, though they are currently closed to the public for safety reasons.

Watching Beijing Tower: At an elevation of 986 meters, it is regarded as the summit of the Simatai Great Wall as well as the highest cultural relic in Beijing. Its name comes from the fact that at night (with good visibility), one can see the lights of Beijing shimmering in the distance 120 km away. More interesting is that the bricks used to built the walls here even stamped with the date on which they were made and the code numbers of the armies that made them.

Fairy Tower: With a sculpture of twin lotus flowers above the arched doors, it is considered by many to be the most beautiful of all towers and is known for its exquisite architecture. Legend goes that it was the dwelling place for an antelope reincarnated in the form of an angel who fell in love with a shepherd.

Heavenly Ladder: Climbing the mountainside at a steep 80-degree gradient, the Heavenly Ladder is the way to Watching Beijing Tower and the Fairy Maiden Tower. Stretching upward along the abrupt mountain ridges, the narrowest part is just half a meter wide.

Sky Bridge: As little as 40 centimeters wide in places, this 100-meter long segment of the wall connects the Fairy Tower to Watching Beijing Tower. It is said that only brave man can traverse the Sky Bridge.

Note: If hiking the way from Simatai to Jinshanling, please keep in mind some parts of the wall are in poor conditions or surprisingly steep beyond your imagination, just as we often say it is wild walls, meaning you have to be very careful of yourself on this challenging route. Once someone gets hurt on the way, it takes a long way and time to get medical treatment.

Jinshanling Great Wall

Jinshanling Great Wall

As a matter of fact, Jinshanling Great Wall is located in Luan-ping County under the supervision of Chengde City (91 km) of Hebei Province, not in Beijing territory. It is about 130km northeast of the capital. It is connected with the Simatai section at Watching Beijing Tower in the east, ending at Long-yu-kou with a distance of 10.5 km. Like Simatai Great Wall, it was first built in early Ming Dynasty, and rebuilt many times in the following years.

Jinshanling Great Wall

Jinshanling Great Wall has 5 passes, 67 towers and 2 beacon towers. The initial section of the wall has been restored to original condition, but the condition of the wall deteriorates towards its natural state as it approaches Simatai. The entrance fee is 40 RMB. A cable car has been constructed to take visitors to the highest point along the wall. There is an additional admission charge of 50 RMB to continue on to the Simatai section, and a 5 RMB fee to cross the suspension bridge.

The official site of Jinshanling Great Wall: http://www.cdchangcheng.com/

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Famous Sections of the Great Wall: