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We propose a challenge: locate one person that hasn’t heard of the Great Wall of China and we’ll eat our words. But until you do, we’re going to make the bold statement and claim that this is one of the most famous landmarks in the whole world. And oh, what a landmark. If you can even gloss over it with such a nondescript noun. Stretching sinuously across China at a staggering length of 21,196 km, the Great Wall is nothing short of a wonder. And world wonder it really is, made official by its inclusion in the New 7 Wonders of the World list. This is one for the bucket-list and it’s set to be special.
A man-made structure that is both majestic and monumental, this is the longest wall on earth and an attraction that is definitely worthy of the hype. Once built to keep invaders out, and now – quite ironically – continually repaired to keep visitors coming in, the Great Wall has a history that dates back circa 2,700 years. “The things that these walls have seen” may be a common expression, but really: the things that this wall has seen. It’s almost impossible to wrap your head around.
Starting its early days as a series of smaller walls in the 7th and 8th century BC, it wasn’t until the Qin Dynasty in the 3rd century BC that there was a united kingdom and therefore a necessity to join the walls in order to protect the one empire. Ever since there has been no stopping the growth of the wall, with the majority of what we see today having been built during the Ming Dynasty thanks to the unprecedented toil of millions of people.
Generally defending the country’s northernmost border, and snaking an otherwise remote and leafy hill country, not only was the Great Wall supposed to keep the likes of the Mongolians out, but also intended to keep Chinese people in. Eek. Both formidable and fascinating, we can’t help but be jealous that you’re even considering it.
It’s China’s – if not the world’s – most important site of historical interest and one that you’d, quite frankly, be mad to miss. Not to mention the fact that this is major bucket-list material that will have all of your friends and family reeling with jealousy back home.
At Mutianyu, you’ll find a section that showcases one of the best examples of restoration to be seen across the whole stretch of this mighty landmark. Slightly less inundated with local tourists than popular Badaling, this 1.8 mile stretch of the wall lies just 73 km away from Beijing and features 23 traditional watchtowers. As the longest fully-restored section of the wall to be open to the public, there’s no better way to take it all in.
With a cable car, chairlift and toboggan ride all at hand to make this the sightseeing opportunity of a lifetime, Mutianyu provides the full package. But the real treat here is the lush surrounds, perfectly framing the majestic winds of the Great Wall. Cameras at the ready people, this one may even justify – god forbid we say it – a selfie stick.
As one of earth’s greats, a trip to the Great Wall of China is pretty much a given when visiting this corner of the world. Which is why we’ve included a trip to the Mutianyu section in our Iconic Highlights and Yangtze Discovery base itineraries. You can also click the 'Ancient Icons' button on our Panoramas & Pandas itinerary to include a visit to Beijing and the Great Wall of China. Head over to the itinerary builder now to start ticking things off your bucket-list.
Marking the northernmost border of China.
Shoes that were made for walking, because boy, is there walking to be done here.
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