Badaling Great Wall
The Badaling sector of the Great Wall was the first opened to tourists. It is the best preserved and the most magnificent. Badaling means "giving access to every direction". The name itself reminds us of its historical and strategic importance. Fully restored in 1957, it can be seen how it looked when it was first built in the Ming dynasty. Because of its popularity it is the easiest to get to and has a lot of modern conveniences for navigating the wall or purchasing souvenirs.
It has a total length of 3, 741 meters (12273 ft) with an average height of 7.8 meter (25.6 ft). The section, which winds up and down the Jundu Mountains in Yanqing county, is made of large blue bricks. The sides are covered in stone, the top in layers of brick. Inside the stone in brick is a mixture of soil and rubble, painstakingly tamped into place. The wall was made wide enough for five or six horses to be ridden abreast on its top. At regular intervals are window embrasures and castellated crenels. Beacon towers, originally for relaying military information, offer a respite from the weather. In peacetime, the Wall has proved useful as a highway, transporting people and supplies over large distances.
|The beautiful scenery of Badaling Great Wall at dusk
||The outlook of Badaling Great Wall impresses you with ancient feeling.
Set in a steep, forested mountain range, Badaling offers superb views and for those willing to travel beyond the restored sections, worthwhile hiking. The climb is so demanding, especially in the summer heat, that the crowds thin out after a few hundred meters (unless you take the cable car to the top, which some think spoils the experience). However, the guard towers are uniquely constructed so that the cool mountain breezes naturally air condition the interior. Weary travelers can literally "chill" in the guard towers before continuing along.
Most travelers visit this section when they travel Beijing. This is largely because it is well maintained and provides smooth walking, while Mutianyu, Jinshanling, and the vertiginous Simatai require a full day 's outing.