Great Wall: A Journey of Wonders

by - Friday, July 14, 2017

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Words simply cannot express my feelings when I stood before the the majestic wall, nor can it do justice to the magnificence of its architecture.

The Great Wall of China, is simply amazing beyond words.

A history of more than 2,000 years and a length of more than 10,000 miles, the Great Wall of China is one of the longest standing name on the wonders of the world.
It is in fact, a wonder of wonders.

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I have always wanted to visit the Great Wall; a place which has been on my travel bucket list  as a little girl.
Everything about this historical site fascinates me and kept me in awe, that I often dream of seeing its grandeur in person and when I finally do, it seemed unbelievable; surreal.

There is a famous saying, by Chairman Mao himself, that "If you have never been to the Great Wall, you are not a Chinese"

It is popularly quoted in culture, and I can now say that, I have made it to the Wall; true to my Chinese ancestry roots.

Chinese or not, the Great Wall is one to visit; at least once in a lifetime, in my humble opinion.

It is a structure of wonders, and I am humbled by the greatness of it all.

The Great Wall of China is known to be a defense build; the protective barrier which guards China against foreign invasions from the borders and maintains the security of the capital, as well as defines the boundaries of the states.
However, that is not all there is to the structure; which is made up of stones, bricks, wood, earth and many more materials, and there are more purposes it serves.
Trade regulations, goods transportation with duties imposition and immigration controls are just to name a few of the tasks undertaken by the Wall.

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The Great Wall is not just a single wall that trolls along the uneven terrains and peaks, cutting across dense jungles, mountains and valleys as it crosses several states.

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It is a wall that is made up of walls; walls that were erected by the respective states for their own defense purposes.

It was the First Emperor of Qin dynasty; the famous Qin Shi Huang, who conceived the idea of constructing one single magnificent wall for all, fortifying his efforts in unifying the whole of China as he breaks down the barriers which separated each state from the other.

The Great Wall is also a combination of builds and rebuilds, not only from the respective states' borders it crosses, but also the different dynasties and reigns involved in the task of its completion.

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The majestic wall is made up of distinct parts across ages; for the total duration for its completion took thousands of years.
Some parts of the wall were established as early as 7BC, and spans across the later dynasties until its completion to what we see today; as accomplished by the Ming dynasty.

It goes without saying that most of the wall have also fallen to ruins along the way; surrendering helplessly to the test of time, and sadly, the works of men as well.

Most parts have been reconstructed and majority of the wall today are not from its early beginnings from Qin; but rather of Ming dynasty.

You can say that the Great Wall has definitely seen the change of time and the transformation of the rulers and dynasties more than any other in the world.

The Great Wall is known in Chinese as the 10,000 mile long wall (万里长城 - Wan Li Chang Chen)  and its name says it all about the length of its distance.
The actual length of the Great Wall is measured to be 13,171 miles; approximately 21,196 in kilometers.

This tells you one thing; it is impossible to visit the entire Great Wall or walk through the wall in one single day, or even one visit.
It is impossible, to even attempt so; for a structure that takes thousands of years to erect.

Due to the magnificence of its scale, there are various access or location points to get to the Great Wall; Badaling, Mutianyu, HuanghuaCheng, Simatai and Jiangshanling; with Badaling and Mutianyu being the most famous one.

The Badaling point is the closest to Beijing and is also the easiest in accessibility; making it the top choice for most visitors.
It is also known for its views which surpasses the other locations; for the outline of the wall sprawling across the mountains is better in visibility from here.

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Therefore it is not surprising that this is the most crowded and tourist-infested spot of all.

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I was originally planning to head to Mutianyu, but there was a change in plan and I ended in Badaling, though wherever it is, I am just pleased that I am finally seeing the Great Wall.

The journey through the Great Wall is not without physical intensity; as one climbs up and down on the stone and brick paved steps of the wall.
It is not an easy journey, as the wall is built upon the natural topological grounds and it is a challenging one with steep climbs ascending and descending the wall, as seen in the many pictures and postcards of the Great Wall.

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It was a workout, but as I climbed the steps and in moments of catching my breath, what came to my mind was not the challenges I faced or the difficulty in climbing; rather, it was the arduous task of its construction and how the men worked hard in labor, brick by brick and more so, during those days when technology has yet to exist.

I am stepping on an already well-laid path; decorated and paved with stones which are meant for walking but back then, what lies beneath the wall before its constructions but nothing than rocks, sand which are probably even inaccessible and dangerous to trample on.

It added to my awe and humbleness, as I think of the men who slaved through the construction of the Great Wall; shedding their sweat, blood and even tears as they struggled against the unpromising environment and surviving the weather.

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They were said to be slaves, prisoners of war of that time, but to me, they are only one thing; Human beings, like you and me.

Some probably lost their lives due to the hardship; and it is reasonable to think so, judging from the harsh conditions of the terrains and the lack of facilities available then.
There were no trucks, cable cars, machineries or even simulated models and all there is are one's hands, feet and physical strength.

Perhaps that reality lend its basis to its reputation of being one of the longest tombs in the world as well; as it was said that bodies of dead men made up the wall as they ended up being buried there, a rumor which is still refuted and brushed off as merely a myth.

It was a truly remarkable journey for me personally; as while I was in awe and admiration, I was also touched, humbled, sad, angered and frustrated all at the same time.

The reality of the building process saddened me, and the lack of awareness in preserving the wall or the number of graffiti and disfiguration just angers me.

There is no other way to treat a historical structure than with respect and appreciation; and this is the Great Wall we are talking about; one of the most resplendent wonders of the world.

It is not just a heritage site, a national treasure, but it is the world's treasure; and an amazing testimonial and reminder, significant of what men can accomplish and it should be, for generations to come, to be remembered the way it was.

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I laud the efforts taken by the government to preserve the landmark, but as individual, we should all do our parts; not only for the Great Wall, but generally for every place we go when we travel, to be responsible and mindful of the site and not to destroy or pollute any part anywhere.

The Great Wall has stood the test of time, and it should continue to, for years to come.

The Great Wall is not just a wonder of the world; it is a wonder of wonders.

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It is a site that one must visit at least once in a lifetime, and if there is one Wonder of the World you must visit, make it this one.

There is truly no greater wall.

I am glad that I have finally seen it myself.



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Note: It was a little foggy that morning, due to the unfavorable weather conditions and also the recent pollution state in the country which caused smog to envelop the skies on a daily basis.
It's a shame though, but at least there's still a glimpse of the Great Wall in view.




*Author's Note: 
This is not a sponsored/promotional post, and solely based on author's personal opinions and do not represent the general public. 
Experiences vary from one individual to another.
You do not have to agree with me.

Art Direction and Photography Styling by Me.
Photos/Videos all belong to me and are copyrighted.
Please kindly ask for permission if you need to use any of my images.




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