The Great Wall of China 


The Great Wall of China
Tourist literature claims the Great Wall is the only man-made building that can be seen from space. Problem is, sometimes, you can't even see the Wall from the Wall itself. The Great Wall of China was constructed at several periods of time from the 3rd to the 17th century. According to the emperors of the time as well as to local building materials available, the Wall was made of stone or of mud bricks as in Western China. There were 3 major construction periods : 1. Western Han dynasty (206 BC to 220 AD) : mud and straw, as we saw it along the route, not so high, 2. Ming dynasty (1358 to 1644), as seen in Beijing, made mainly of stone (except in the West) and 3. beginning of the Qing dynasty (1644 to 1911). Time (and local people looking for cheap building materials) has taken its toll and only small portions of the Great Wall remain complete. As we drove towards Jiayuguang on a beautiful stretch of Expressway thanks to the "Development of the West" decision by Beijing (as can be seen on the pictures, the fences make sure all that use the road pay at the tollgate), we started to see stretches of the Great Wall, km after km. The most impressive motorway decoration we know of ! 



Troopie at the Western tip of the Great Wall of China


The Wall will go through villages unnoticed as local people get on with their lives. As we drove through villages, pieces of the Wall would appear next to small shops... Quite different from the Great Wall - tourist attraction that can be seen in Beijing.


A new wall being built next to "the only made-made building visible from space" ! 


Jiayuguang Pass Fort
Jiayuguang is an ancient Han Chinese outpost. The Great Wall once extended beyond here but when a fortress was built in 1372, Jiayuguang was considered both the western tip of the wall and the western boundary of the empire. Despite its well preserved look, both towers are original.


Window on the Jiayuguang Pass Fort, Gansu Province


Jiayuguang Pass Fort, Gansu Province, Western China


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