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Badaling Section of Chinese Great Wall


Historically, Badaling Great Wall is one of the nine forts on earth, and also the quintessential section of the Great Wall. It is the representative of the Great Wall established in the Ming Dynasty. Badaling Great Wall is the earliest section opened to tourists. Badaling Scenic Area is mainly characterized by the Badaling Great Wall with multi-functional modernized facilities for tourism service such as Badaling Hotel, Quanzhou Cinema and China Great Wall Museum inscribed directly by Jiang Zemin, the former president of China. Badaling Great Wall is the best preserved section of the Great Wall with the all-sided service facilities.

The Badaling section of Great Wall is located in Yanqing County of Beijing. Badaling Great Wall was established in 1505 and restored in later times. Badaling Great Wall is world famous for its magnificent scenery, perfect facilities and profound culture and history. Badaling Great Wall has a good geographic environment. Anciently it was the importance way to Shanxi Province and Inner Mongolia. In 1998, Badaling Expressway was established to open. Furthermore, the annual average temperature of Badaling area is three Celsius degrees lower than downtown Beijing, so it is also the hot tourist destination of Yanqing in summer. The ticket price for Badaling section of The Great Wall is about 45 Yuan. Getting off the bus at the square in front of the ticket office, people can find the whole architectures and the additional buildings of the Badaling Great Wall mostly are made by the gray-color bricks.

The available length of Badaling Great Wall for tour is 3,741 meters (the south part is 1,176 meter and the north part is 2,565 meter). In 1953, it was restored and opened to be the tourist destination. There are 16 forts in total. In 1961, Badaling section of the Great Wall was listed to be the first batch of cultural relics under the national-class protection. In 1982, it was ranked to be the national key scenic spot. In 1986, it was officially commented to be the top of national top-ten scenic spots. In 1987, it was ranked into the List of World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. From 1995 to 2000, there were more than 300 country leaders all over the world visited Badaling Great Wall.

History of Badaling Great Wall

Traditionally, Badaling Great Wall is the important military strategic base. In the time of Spring and Autumn period and Warring States period, the Great Wall was built for fighting against the northern ethnic groups' southward invasion. Today Badaling Great Wall is still having the remnants of walls and forts. Badaling Mountain is a mountain pass of the strategically important and high peaks dotted Jundoushan Mountain (军都山). Badaling, means the mountain by which you can go to everywhere in Chinese, is also the highest in the area. In the Ming Dynasty, it took over eighty years to build the Badaling section to intensify the defensive shield of northern China. The Ming army also appointed General Qi Jiguang (戚继光), who had successful led his army division to repel the invading Japanese, to command and handle the defense affairs in the Great Wall.

Historically, Badaling Great Wall has been the protecting gate of Juyongguan Pass (居庸关). A 20-kilometer long gap, called "Pass' Gap" is located between Badaling and the southern gate, and Juyongguan Pass is here. At the highest point of Badaling, there are two tall peaks, with which a narrow gap is being seen. If looking down from here, the dangerous topography is truly overwhelming. So, Juyongguan Pass is only a fort, though majestic, the real Great Wall is Badaling.

Badaling Great Wall has witnessed many China's historical events. The First Monarch Qinhihuang arrived Jie Shi Mountain (碣石), passed Badaling and went to Datong, later to Xianyang near Xian in Shaanxi. Genghis Khan and Yuan Dynasty's emperors had to return twice a year to their homeland in Xandu of Mongolia from Beijing that they must via Badaling Great Wall, where was also the venue for northward expedition and conquering of Ming's emperors. The tears of crying of Dowager Cixi when she was fleeing westward, the laying ceremony of the first Chinese built railway line and the great founding father of modern China, Dr. Sun Yat-sen's visit have left many and many historical anecdotes and old memories.

Notable Architecture of Badaling Great Wall

Originally Badaling Mountain was just a mountain pass but later a Great Wall section and military fortifications had been built here. Defensive barriers had been constructed between the years of 1569 and 1582 in various places at Badaling. Later, fortresses and stone walls were built, thus the Badaling section of Great Wall was formed. It now has a length of 12 kilometers.

Turnoff Castle 岔道城
Located near Badaling Train Station, there stands a grand and majestic castle. This is "The Key of the Northern Gate" of outpost command office. In old times, there were three senior guards with 800 troops staying here.

Ancient Cannons 古炮
The five advanced cannons from the Ming Dynasty are displayed at the entrance of Badaling Great Wall. The biggest and most powerful one is length 2.85 meters and its caliber is 105 millimeters. The shooting range can reach one kilometer. In 1958, it was moved to here from a few kilometers away. The other four smaller cannons had been excavated during a Great Wall renovation project in 1957. At that time, there were a few hundreds shells found too. They are all from the Ming Dynasty period.

Barrier Fortress 关城
A temple is built outside of the Eastern Gate of the Barrier Fortress – Temple of Seeing Beijing (望京寺), where had a grand stone Buddhist statue stood inside. In the year 1505, due to the renovation of the Barrier Fortress, the temple and its entire construction were removed. The Barrier Fortress has east and west gates. The western wall's foundation is built with ten-odd layers of granite. The wall body is made of cement bricks. The wall castle is on the top. It is length 19.8 meters, width 14.15 meters. There are two towers for watching out enemies on the both sides of the castle with about 60 meters distance from each other. The north and south city walls are set perpendicular to the western wall, to which they are all built on the slope, the west is higher in altitude to the east and like U-shape. The eastern gate is 63.9 meters away from the west one, which the inscription "The Key of the Northern Gate" is still well preserved.

The City Wall 城墙
The City Wall in the Badaling section of Great Wall is height between 6 and 9 meters. Its intersection looks like a trapezium that the bottom is wider than the top side. The top can accommodate five horses or ten men to roam or walk in a column. The portion in Qinglong Bridge is steep and dangerous. The narrowest part is just over two meters of width.

Whatever in the plane area on steep slope, the city wall is built by laying granite bricks in alternative side positioning, with adding ash slurry to make them sticking with one another. The battlement faces the enemy side. It is height 1.7 to 2 meters, which can properly protect the human body when fighting. Embrasures are set one meter distance from one another and located about the height of chest of an average adult. Some of the watching holes and shooting holes are carved with beautiful patterns on their rims.

There are two small water troughs on both lower sides of the city wall. The rain water will be flowed to drainage pipe, which will lead the water to the outlet located outside the wall. The drainage outlet is actually a stone made water trough with a length of one meter. It stretches from the Great Wall to outside area.

There is a city entrance gateway set up in every certain distant interval of the city wall. The gate is arch-shaped on its top. It is 1.8 meters height and 0.8 meter width. The frame of the gateway is built by four big stone pieces of same size and mass. Stairs are installed in every gateway that it can go to the top of the wall. In streams and sand rivers which the city wall passes over them, there are water gates of different sizes set up.

Enemy Watching Tower 敌楼
There are 43 enemy watching towers in Badaling section of Great Wall. They are all quite similar but having some characteristics that are different from one another. Some of enemy watching towers have patrol platforms and some consist of two-level watching dais, of which the upper ones have embrasures and shooting holes, while the lower ones are for storage and dwelling compartments for soldiers.

Beacon Tower for Fighting 墩台
Two beacon towers are established at east and west mountains of the Badaling section of Great Wall. They are quite high, and surrounded by some majestic architecture. Dangerous traps are set up for catching the enemy forces. No stairs are installed but rope suspensions for going up and down the tower.

Wall Platform 城台
It means a platform that is higher than the top of Great Wall. Military and platform styles constructions are built. Wall platform was a place for patrol and sentry by ancient soldiers, as well as a defensive area for armies during wars in old times.

Fighting Castle 战台
The castles are built along Great Wall's main road and places of strategic importance. They often have three stories but the scales are very different. The castles can store weapons, ammunition, divine arrows, iron wands and large amount of stones for throwing off to the invading forces and other essential things for battle. Five centuries ago, soldiers in these fighting castles could command a panoramic view of the mountainous terrain and used fire and bombs to hit their enemies.

Main Attractions of Badaling Great Wall

The Stone of Watching Beijing 望京石
Situated at the Eastern Gate of Badaling Barrier and near Outer Juyong Town (居庸外镇). It is a one meter tall and fifteen meters length natural granite. The eye-catching inscription "望京石" (The Stone of Watching Beijing) is clearly seen.

Tian Xian Inscription 天险留题
The Chinese words, Tian Xian (天险, means "utmost danger") is carved on the side of a flat cliff located near the Eastern Gate. The inscription was written by Yanqing County Officer, Tong En (童恩) in 1835 and the carving was done by Liu Zhenzong (刘振宗).

Music Playing Gorge 弹琴峡
Situated on Five Ghosts' Heads Hill (五鬼头). It is the best scene in Guangou (Barrier Valley).

Stone Buddha Temple 石佛寺
Near the Music Playing Gorge, it was built in the Ming Dynasty. It got its name from the fact that a stone Buddha statue was made inside the temple hall.

Turnoff Town 岔道城
Located outside the Northern Key Gate of Badaling Great Wall, it was built in the Ming Dynasty. For hundreds of years, this town had been quite populous and business was much flourished. Logistics was important for the people living there. A memorial base for the death caused by Japanese armies here during China's eight-year Anti-Japanese War (1937 – 1945) testifies the atrocity done by the invaders.

Great Wall Museum 长城博物馆
Located outside of Badaling's Barrier, its name implies that the Great Wall is the theme here. By using the state of the art exhibition technology of pictures, as well as audio and visual means, it displays all the things about the history, politics, military, economy and culture of one of the greatest miracles in the world. It has nine exhibition halls of a total area of more than 3,000 square meters.

Great Wall Cineorama 长城全周影院
It is the first of its kind on Mainland China today, located just near the Great Wall Museum. The cinema's facilities are state of the art with nine large projection screens altogether and installed with top class surround stereo sound. This cinema hall can accommodate 500 hundred audiences at the same time. "Cineorama" is a kind of 360 degrees viewing cinematic experience. The feature film "The Great Wall" narrates the magnificent story of Shanhaiguan Pass (山海关) situated at easternmost of the wall and goes westwards, about the relics, wars, anecdotes, folk legends and natural scenery, and lastly to Jiayuguan Pass (嘉峪关) in Gansu Province.

Celebrity Memorial Sculptures Park 中华文化名人雕塑纪念园
It is at the southwest of the Badaling section of Great Wall. The cremains, mementos and sculptures of great Chinese writers Bing Xin and her husband, as well as Mao Dun, Ye Shengtao, Xia Yan, Guo Moruo, famous painters Xu Beihong and some other well-known celebrities.

Travel Tips of Badaling Great Wall

Great Wall is listed in UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage. It is also China's key cultural protection unit and a state's 4A's scenic spot.

The entrance fee is 45 RMB, half fare for student. A return trip of cable car on Badaling requires 60 RMB. The opening time : summer 6:30 – 19:00 Beijing local time and winter 7:00 – 18:00.

How to get there. Badaling section of Great Wall is eighty kilometers away from downtown Beijing. Expressways are linked to there. You just take one hour onboard a tour coach. Bus routes to Badaling are available at the east Qianmenlou (前门楼), History Museum at Tiannamen Square and southeastern corner of Chongwenmen Road. Fare for a return journey is 36 RMB.

There are some other bus routes as far as Badaling:
No. 919 from Deshengmen (德胜门乘919路), it starts in every 15 minutes.
Y1 from Qianmen's (前门) bus route No. 17 station.
Y2 from Eastern Street of Beijing Railway Station, bus route No. 103 station.
Y3 from Dongdaqiao's (东大桥) bus route No. 28 station.

Y4 from Xizhimen (西直门) or Beijing Zoo, and Y4 Branch Route from Apple Garden.
Y5 from the taxi stand of western Qianmen.
Y8 from Andingmen (安定门) and Qianmen.

All buses take about 40 minutes.


Writer: David from Seeraa International
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