The Great Wall is arguably the most famous and widely known symbol and vestige of China’s glory and magnificence. It is 6,200 miles in length and is supposedly the only man-made object visible from space.
Fortified in by Qin Shi Huang Di (the first emperor to unite China), this “fantastic serpent of stone” served as a defensive barricade against enemies. Its construction was long and arduous and it is said that those who died building the wall were buried in it, with the bricks simply piled on top of their bodies. Erection began as early as the third century B.C. and continued throughout the Han dynasty and the Ming dynasty.
Today the Great Wall can be visited in various locations, with the most popular three being near Beijing. The Great Wall at Badaling is the most popular location to see the splendor of the Great Wall firsthand, making it crowded with tour buses and commercialization. Regardless of the vendors trying to sell “I Climbed the Great Wall” t-shirts, the section is beautifully restored and lies 43 miles northwest of Beijing. Badaling is set in the forested mountains and is dramatic with plunging descents and twisted paths.