There are places in the world that deserve a special section for representing by themselves an entire nation, its culture, its philosophy, its past. This is what happens with the Great Wall of China , a national symbol that shows the strength of a country steeped in history to which the passing of centuries has forged its dual character between peace and harmony and the eternal struggle in which has been involved for hundreds of years.
The Great Wall of China is that colossal border that separates ying from yang.
History of the Great Wall of China
In the year 250 BC, the heart of Asia, in what is now Chinese territory, was divided among several states that were in conflict with each other. It was the time of the Warring States, a harsh and cruel time in which blood stained its wonderful landscapes.
Han, Zhao, Yan, Wei, Chu, Qi and Qin were the seven states fighting for territorial hegemony. In the last of them, the smallest and most marginal, lived a 13-year-old boy, Qin Shi Huang , who with his perseverance and mental strength would end up unifying the country and becoming the first Emperor of China.
At the age of 22, he would end up becoming King of Qin, succeeding his mother, the Queen Regent. He ordered the execution of her lover who claimed her throne, and the children he had had with her mother. In addition, he locked up his mother and got rid of the state chancellor, her right hand. As he said, these were very difficult times, but the young Shi Huang had one fixed idea in his head: to build a great country.
Once his own state was stabilized, he led his troops against the other six states. They were twelve years of struggle but one by one, they were falling under his yoke. He was cruel, yes, but straight and, according to historians, quite fair in his decisions, as well as contributing decisively to the advancement of the country’s culture. He unified the national currency and its language. He equalized measures and weights across the country, improved communications, and created an army feared throughout Asia. Only the Huns, coming from the borders with Mongolia, were capable of facing it and causing fear for the newly created empire of China. It was the year 221 BC and thus the great Asian giant was born.
To face the threat of the Huns, Qin Shi Huang decided to restore and unite different portions of the ancient walls of the states that made up the newly created China. Many years of hard work were required. As always in antiquity, the lower classes were forced to work under the Emperor. Large amounts of money from the Treasury had to be spent, but a monumental Wall was built that encircled the vast border of China in the North and covered almost 20,000 km. of land, from the Gobi desert to the border with Korea. It was thus protected and separated from the danger of the Mongol Huns and Manchurs.
The Qin dynasty was the great promoter of the Wall. Unfortunately, the later dynasty, the Han, did not see its great military utility in it, and although it rebuilt some more portions, the truth is that the Great Wall, almost until the year 1300 AD when the Ming dynasty would begin to reign, remained unaltered and in many areas, with irrelevant use.
With the Ming Dynasty, part of its importance was recovered again. Once again it had to be external threats (in this case, from the Manchus) that turned the Great Wall into the axis of the nation. Unfortunately, their power was not enough, and in the year 1644, they managed to cross the Wall, to impose themselves on the Empire and found the new Qing Dynasty. With the Manchus in power, the Great Wall ceased to have the importance for which it was built and fell into disuse.
Today, only about 7,300 km are preserved in good condition. Of the same.
The three best-preserved sections are Badaling , which can be visited from Beijing by car or bus, Mutianyu , and Simatai , which offers the best views. If we could get a complete view of the Great Wall, we would be able to see not only its more than 7,000 kilometers of winding stone figure winding up and down the Chinese hills, but its 135 watchtowers, the watchtowers added by the Ming and where they were built. they burned wolf droppings to warn of possible attacks and the three passes of Shanghai, Juyong and Niangzi.
Practical information on the Great Wall of China
- Visits in Badaling
- of 70 kms. from Beijing
- It is recommended to visit the Juyong Guan pass
- open from 6:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. everyday
- Visits en Mutianyu
- of 90 kms. from Beijing
- beautiful mountain scenery
- open from 7:30 a.m. at 6 p.m. everyday
- Visits in Simatai
- of 110 kms. from Beijing
- It is much steeper but with very beautiful landscapes and views
- open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day from April to November
- How long is the Great Wall of China?
- Longitud: 21.196 kms.
- Height: 6 to 7 meters on average
- Width: between 4 and 5 meters on average