In China there is an old saying that goes "..you are not a man until you have been to the Great Wall!" This famous 'icon' stretches 8,851.8 kilometres from the the eastern coast to the Gobi Desert. The first Emperor to unify all of China in 221 BC, Qin Shihuang, had a workforce of up to a million people link previously existing walls from smaller kingdoms and build new sections, in order to keep out northern invaders. Subsequent dynasties continued to strengthen the wall; however this was not enough to prevent the Mongols from invading China in 1271 and forming the Yuan Dynasty.
Most of our adventure holidays to China include a visit to the Great Wall. Most climb the wall at Simatai, two-and-a-half hour's from Beijing and one of the most beautiful sections. Because this section has retained many of its original features, it is quite precarious in parts for trekkers. Beyond the perilous Simatai Ridge, the condition deteriorates to an incline at an 80 degree angle with only a single parapet wall. This section of the Wall is so steep that it has been dubbed the 'Stairway to Heaven'.
The Great Wall of China stretches for more than 5,000 miles
It is known as the largest military and man-made structure in the world
Construction started around 220 BC and continued for around 1700 years
Over a million people reportedly died working on it
The wheelbarrow, much used during construction, was invented by the Chinese
You cannot see it from space!
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