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Stop At: The Great Wall at Badaling, Badaling, Beijing 102112 China
The Great Wall originally functioned as a fortification. Qinshihuang, the first emperor of Qin Dynasty (221BC-206BC) unified the whole nation and began to build the Great Wall to protect China's borders from the intrusion of the northern nomadic tribes. Most parts of the preserved Badaling Great Wall were built and reinforced during the Ming Dynasty to defend the capital against the intrusion of these Mongolian people. The structure of the wall consists of huge bar-stones and bricks. The inside of the wall has been formed by tampering earth and small stones, which makes the wall very firm and strong.
The Great Wall is a symbol of Chinese civilization, and one of the wonders that the Chinese people have created. Badaling Great Wall, the most representative part, was promoted as a key national cultural relic. It was enlisted in the World Cultural Heritage Directory by UNESCO in 1988.
Duration: 2 hours
Stop At: Beijing Shisanling Ming Dynasty Waxworks Palace, Northwest of Xiguanhuandao, Changping District, Beijing 102200 China
The Sacred Way: In total, 13 of the 16 Ming emperors are buried in the Ming Tombs. Leading up to the tombs though is one of the most beautiful relics left to us today, the Sacred Way. It’s a truly charming site. Participants will enter an arch and pass a giant tortoise (made in 1425). Rubbing the tortoise’s nose and tail is said to bring prosperity and good health. Then continue along the Sacred Way, a paved walkway with huge stone animals, warriors and court officials on either side designed to protect the emperors in the afterlife. Many legends surround these great sculptures which the guide will bring to life during the walk.
Duration: 45 minutes
Stop At: Ming Tombs (Ming Shishan Ling), Ming Shisan Ling Area, Changling Town, Changping District, Beijing 102213 China
The Ming Tombs are an attractive destination as much for the natural scenery of the area as for the tombs themselves. The tomb area begins with an impressive marble archway, erected in 1540, and further on, the road is lined with stone renderings of animals and officials. Only three of the tombs are actually open for viewing. Changling, the earliest and largest of the tombs, dates from the year 1413. Another, Dingling, was constructed in the 16th century for the emperor Wan Li, who gave a party in his own funeral chamber to mark its completion. The tomb was excavated in 1958 and treasures found inside are now on display. Considerably fewer tourists visit Zhaoling. In addition to these, there are several more tombs-all unreconstructed. The area makes for a nice day trip from the city. Explore the old tombs and pick out a nice spot for a picnic. Nearby is the Shisanling Reservoir, built in 1958 by 400,000 workers in only six months.
Duration: 1 hour