When you travel to Beijing, the top tourist sight is easily the Great Wall of China. If you travel to Beijing and do not see the Great Wall, then not only are you missing out on one of the Seven Wonders of the World, but you are also denying yourself the most beautiful view of China available. The Great Wall, although a large tourist attraction, has many different portions that people can travel to see. There are areas heavily populated with other tourists, but there are also areas that are more remote where the wall has been left in its original state.

The Great Wall was constructed in the seventh century B.C. by feudal warlords in order to defend the Chinese Empire from Mongolian and Manchu enemies to the north. During the early construction of the Great Wall, it is estimated that hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives due to the building conditions being so dangerous. It is also said that the early parts of the wall were built from materials that could be found in the local areas due to rock and stone being too difficult to transport across the country. Several dynasties later, the wall was constructed from bricks. The Great Wall is fragmented and due to that, there are areas that are preserved really well and areas that are a little more worn.

When I traveled to the Great Wall, I went to the Badaling Remnant of the Great Wall. It serves as the Western gate of the whole fortification system. This area of the wall has been preserved as it was when it was originally constructed. There are fractions of the wall that are whole and easy to navigate, but there were also areas I climbed that were broken and deteriorated, which were a lot more difficult to climb. The broken portions we climbed are representative of the history that this portion of the wall endured. There was an attack in this area in about 1644 where LiZicheng who was extremely resentful of the corrupt regime of the day, led his troops from this area of the wall in a rebellion to successfully overthrow the Ming Dynasty. However, despite the wall not being renovated and difficult to climb, the resulting view was well worth it! The view from the top of the tower that we reached was breathtaking. I have never seen such a view in my life. This portion of the wall, still in its original form, takes you back in history to its construction two thousand years ago.

To travel to Beijing and not visit the Great Wall would be a disgrace! It was one of my most memorable experiences since arriving in Beijing. I definitely recommend traveling to the Badaling Remnant Great Wall for it is in its original state, which is not something that a lot of the other sections of the Great Wall can offer. However, if this is the section you decide to visit, I recommend bringing your own water and snacks because once you arrive, there are not places to buy these things. There is a shack that sells souvenirs, snacks, and water, but it closes in the early afternoon. The Great Wall certainly lives up to its reputation and I would definitely recommend taking a day to appreciate its beauty! 

Jack Li

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