Last Friday was the official start of the Chinese New Year celebrations. The holiday is a week long, and consists of festivals, traditional food, cleaning the house in preparation for the coming of the New Year, and the giving of gifts to family members and business partners. The Lunar Festival is a fantastic celebration that occurs every year in China, rocking the rest of the world by storm in a celebration that puts our New Years Parties to shame. So what better place to visit at this time of year, than the Great Wall of China?
Famous for its intense length, the original construction of the Great Wall of China was thought to be as early as the 7th Century BC. It is located across the hysterical northern borders of China and was constructed as a means to protect China from invaders. The Great Wall is a staggering 13,171 miles in length, and much of the original construction still remains standing today, although in various states of disrepair.
The Great Wall is a legendary hiking trail, as walking even part of the length of the Wall is considered to be a great feat, with certain sections of the wall thinning perilously out to only a few feet wide. Thousands of tourists attempt the walk every year, and there is even an annual event that has taken place since 1999, dedicated to running a marathon atop the Wall. It has also been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.
It is fascinating to see what areas of the Great Wall are oldest, as the Wall has been constructed of a variety of material, including bricks, and earth wood and stone, when bricks had not yet been discovered. Later on larger stones cut into rectangular shapes were used, as they can hold under their weight for longer than brick. Walking across the Great Wall allows us to see the progression of construction types used in the history of China.
As well as being a rich cultural experience, walking the Wall is also a great way to see China from above, and a way to take in the stunning view of rugged mountains and beautiful woodland. The Mutianyu section of the wall is the most popular amongst tourists, and the walk across this section takes about a day. So why not? Next time you plan a holiday in China, definitely try to hire a car and visit the Great Wall!