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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 continue to move to the second fort.
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.
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.
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!
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