Archive for the ‘Great Wall of China’ Category

Jiumenkou Great Wall

Wednesday, October 31st, 2018
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Plan your trip to the Great Wall of China? There are many sections of the Wall to be visited starting from its eastern tip of the Head of Old Dragon at Shanhaiguan ( Shanhai Pass) in Qinhuangdao to its western end of Jiayuguan Pass in Gansu Province.

Jiumenkou Great Wall was an important pass of the Great Wall in Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644). It is connected to Jiaoshan Great Wall and further linked to the Head of Old Dragon at Shanhai Pass.


It is situated in Xintaizi village of Lijiaxiang Town in Suizhong County of Liaoning Province, about 16km northwest of Shanhaiguan, with a total length of 1704m, spanning a 100m wide river named Jiujiang River.

Jiumenkou Great Wall on the Great Wall east of Beijing

The Great Wall on the river has nine sluice gates, hence the name of Jiumenkou Great Wall, which literally means Nine Gates Pass Great Wall. This section of the Great Wall was originally built in Nirthern Qi Dynasty (479-502) and was rebuilt in 1381 in Ming Dynasty by General Xuda who led the army and local farmers constructing the wall from Xifenkou to Jiumenkou, one of the important passes in the northeast of Beijing.

This is a restored section of the Great Wall, and rebuilt and revamped under the call by Deng Xiaoping “Love Our Motherland and Rebuild Our Great Wall” during 1980s. In September 2002, Jiumenkou Great Wall was listed as World Cultural Heritage site.

After simple breakfast at the ancient city of Shanhaiguan, we drive directly to the site of Jiumenkou Great Wall. It is still in early spring and here far north of Beijing, we expect a late coming of spring with little green colour.

We drive directly to the site of Jiumenkou Great Wall.

We drive directly to the site of Jiumenkou Great Wall

In half hour, we see a decorated entrance arch to the Wall.

In half hour, we see a decorated entrance arch to the Wall.

Soon we approach a second entrance to Jiumenkou Great Wall.

Soon we apparoch a second entrane to Jiumenkou Great Wall

The nine wather gate section of the Great Wall is in sight.

The nine water gate section of the Great Wall is in sight.

The wall bridge has two inner cities at its two ends. Each of the gate is 5m wide. The bridge wall is 10 m high.

The wall bridge has two inner cities at its two ends

Under the wall bridge are 1,2000 slabs hooked together by dove-tail slots with dove-tail iron.

Under the wall bridge are 1,2000 slabs hooked together by dove-tail slots with dove-tail iron.

We walk up on to the top of the wall bridge.

We walk up on to the top of the wall bridge.

The bridge is flanked by the buttresses in the rhombus shape.

The bridge is flanked by the buttresses in the rhombus shape.

Each  of the two inner cities at the both end of the wall bridge has 7 gates for accommodating soldiers.

Each of the two inner cities at the both end of the wall bridge has 7 gates for accommodating soldiers.

Each crenel has a small hole for supporting a crossbow.

Each crenel has a small hole supporting a crossbow.

Zhuizishan Great Wall

Wednesday, October 31st, 2018
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Plan your Great Wall tour? If you are not interested in the restored sections of the Great Wall such as the Old Dragon Head, Jiaoshan Great Wall and Jiumenkou Great Wall, then you are suggested to drive about 40km from Jiumenkou Great Wall further north to Zhuizishan Great Wall. Zhuizishan Great Wall is located in Yongbao Town of Suizhong County in Liaoning Province.

“Zhuzishan” literally means “Awl shaped mountains”. This section of Great Wall is perched on the mountain in a shape of awl, round and big at the base and narrow and steep on the top. So the awl shaped mountain itself is like a huge watch tower, a natural barrier.

What makes Zhuizishan Great Wall unique is the confluence of the three sections of the Great Wall on the awl shaped mountain. The Great Wall to the south of Zhuzishan leads to Jiumenkou Great Wall and Old Dragon Head at Shanhaiguan, to the west leads to Beijing Badaling Great Wall and to the east to Jinniudong Great Wall in Liaoning Province.

Zhuizishan Great Wall on the Great Wall east of Beijing

Zhuzishan Great Wall was originally built in 1381. It went through numerous wars and natural disasters. Today it is still fairly well preserved. It is a wild and original section of the Great Wall, not restored, an important part of the Great Wall of China. On June 10, 2006 it was listed as a key relics unit under the national level protection.

With the help of a local farmer turned guide – Lao Yang, we climb up the part of the east section of Zhizishan Great Wall. Start our hike along a pile of rocks instead of stone steps due to a severe damage at the lower part of the wall.

Start our hike along a pile of stones and rocks

Start our hike along a pile of stones

The major part of Zhuzishan Great Wall was built of rocks from local mountains.

The major part of Zhuzishan Great Wall was built of rocks from local mountains.

My colleagues, Xiao Hao and Xiao Zhou, follow me up to the east section of Zhuizishan Great Wall.

My colleagues, Xiao Hao and Xiao Zhou, follow me up to the east section of Zhuizishan Great Wall.

The watch tower was built of bricks with its base constructed with slabs. 

The watch tower was built of bricks with its base constructed with slabs.

The upper watch tower was built of bricksThe tower’s base was built of huge slabs

The tower’s base was built of huge slabs

The wall was built of rocks from local mountains

The wall was built of rocks from local mountains

Zhizishan Great Wall leads to Jinniudong Great Wall to its east for about 13km

Zhizishan Great Wall leads to Jinniudong Great Wall to its east for about 13km


Now we turn west and see the Zhuzishan Mountain where three sections of the Wall are met, south to Shanhaiguan, west to Beijing and east to us.

Now we turn west and see the Zhuzishan Mountain where three sections of the Wall are met

People say “It is a not hero if you don’t climb up the Great Wall, but only strong man can ascend Zhizishan Great Wall”.

Chengziyu Great Wall

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018
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Planning your Great Wall tour? If hiking on unrestored and original sections of the Wall is your main interest, then Chengziyu Great Wall is not to be missed.

This section of the Great Wall lies to the west of Xiaohekou Great Wall. If you keep on walking from Chengziyu Great Wall to the west, you will reach Badaling Great Wall in Beijing; to the east and south, you will get to Shanhai Pass.

Chengziyu Great Wall is named after the village for the name’s sake. Chengziyu Village is under the administration of Fuxiang County of Qinhuangdao in Hebei Province.

We drive westward about 15km from Xiaohekou Great Wall along the asphalt mountain road past Xigu Village (3km), Damashan Mountain(6km) and Dongjiakou Village (14km),  and finally get to Chengziyu Village.

Chengziyu Great Wall on the Great Wall east of Beijing

 

Actually there are much to see on the Great Wall near Xigu Village, Damaoshan Mountain and Dongjiakou Village. Not enough time, we have to give up. Maybe next time. There were three castles built in Ming Dynasty – Damaoshan castle,Dongjiakou Castle and Chengziyu Castle.

On our way to Chengziyu Great Wall, we ask our driver to stop at Dongjiakou Village to snap some pictures. Dongjiakou Pass was an important Great Wall pass north of Shanhaiguan Pass.

Most of the villagers in Dongjiakou Village are the descendants of the army and builders coming from Yiwu and Shaoxing led by Qi Jiguang, the architect in chief  in charge of the rebuilding of the great wall from Beijing Juyongguan Pass in the west to Shanhai Pass in the east.

Pass by the dilapidated castle at Dongjiakou Village with the Great wall looming overhead.

the dilapidated castle at Dongjiakou Village

Dongjiakou Village and the Great Wall

Dongjiakou Village and the Great Wall

Move further west for about one and half kms, we reach Chengziyu Great Wall. “Chengziyu” literally means “castle’s valley”.

The remaining arch of the castle was too treacherous, it was rebuilt last year. The restored castle remnant looks ugly, a little disappointing, lacking the originality.

The restored castle remnant looks ugly

Mr.Zhang Heshan is the only Great Wall warden in Chengziyu Great Wall. He is also a member of China Great Wall Protection Association.

He is the 14th generation of the descendants from the army and builders led by Qi Jiguang from Yi Wu, a town in southern China. He is our guide today.

With Mr.Zhang taking the lead, we walk along the narrow lanes in the village.

With Mr.Zhang taking the lead, we walk along the narrow lanes in the village

Each family has a stone courtyard in the village.

Each family has a stone courtyard in the village.

We come across a placard saying “Take nothing but photos; leave nothing but footprints; keep the wall wild and wonderful”.

Take nothing but photos; leave nothing but footprints; keep the wall wild and wonderful

The so called Chengziyu Great Wall is divided into two sections with the wide valley in the middle – east section and west section. Mr. Zhang suggests we climb the west section since we come to the village in the afternoon.

He says it is better to come to enjoy the Chengziyu Great Wall in the morning hiking the east section for better views. He also introduces that in the past between the two sections the valley pass of the Great Wall. Now Chengziyu Pass has disappeared.

Half way on the hill, we turn back at the village down blow. Mr.Zhang says the village is nestled in the valley in the shape of the Big Dipper.

Look at the east and zoom in the line of the Great Wall towers on the east section, east side of the valley.

Look at the east and zoom in the line of the Great Wall towers.


Follow Mr.Zhang hiking up to the west section along wall path rife with bushes and saplings.

Follow Mr.Zhang hiking up to the west section along wall path rife with bushes and saplings


We climb pass the first fort and again have a glimpse of the village below.

We climb past the first fort and again have a glimpse of the village below.


We continue to move to the second fort.

We continue to move to the second fort.

The wall is built with bricks with dressed slat base.

The wall is built with bricks with dressed slat base.

Taking a photo with Mr.Zhang west of the second three-eye tower (three windows).

Taking a photo with Mr.Zhang west of the second watch tower.

We stop at the middle way between the second and the third tower. I snap a picture of the third fort and stop moving further.

I snap a picture of the third fort and stop moving further

Mr.Zhang asks me to turn right (east side) and say it was once a large trade and market area on the border area. On the right side (south) was inside the wall while on the left side was outside the wall.

If the residents from outside the wall entering the Great wall pass, they must show their ID documents in the past. He says now his village is on the south under the administration of Hebei Province while the village on the north (left side) of Liaoning Province.

it was once a large trade and market area on the border area

It is almost dinner time and Mr.Zhang asks us to have dinner at his home. Climb down the hill, we see smoke rising from a kitchen chimney.

we see smoke from a kitchen chimney.


Mr.Zhang’wife has already been busy with preparing us for a local dinner. 
His house is a two-storey building, one of the two two-storey buildings in the village, belonging to some of the people who have got rich first.

His house is a two-storey building

One of their bedrooms, clean and spacious.

One of their bedrooms, clean and spacious.


In less than half hour, an organic meal is presented on the table; fried eggs from their own naturally raised chickens; braised pork in soy sauce with the pork from their own raised pigs and vegetables from their fields, which, for urban residents, is too luxury!

an organic meal is presented on the table