Cultural Tour Along the Great Wall
The Great Wall refers to a huge military project against intrusions by northern nomadic groups in different periods in ancient China. It stretches for over 10,000 km from east to west, so it is also called The Long Wall of Ten Thousand Kilometers. As an ancient defense project that required the longest time of construction and the biggest workload in the world, it was built during the Spring and Autumn period and the subsequent Warring States period over 2,000 years ago. The existing relics of the Great Wall are mainly the Great Wall of the Ming Dynasty built in the 14th century. According to data issued by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage in 2012, the total length of the Great Wall in past dynasties is 21,196.18 km; the State Administration of Cultural Heritage published data on the Great Wall of the Ming Dynasty in 2009, indicating its total length of 8,851.8 km. The Great Wall is a great miracle created by ancient working people of China and is the witness of China’s long history. Moreover, it is one of eight wonders of the world together with other wonders like Colosseum of Roman, Leaning Tower of Pisa and Pyramids of Egypt. In December 1987, the Great Wall was listed as a world cultural heritage.
Description of the Itinerary
Day 1: start from Qinhuangdao. In the morning, visit the east gate of Shanhai Pass, over which a board “First Pass Under the Heaven” is hung, then take Bus 24 to Birds’ Twitter Forest of Yansai Lake, and visit the Shimen Reservoir, also known as the “Small Guilin in North China” by boat. In the afternoon, take Bus 24 to Ninghai City in Laolongtou (Old Dragon’s Head), the east end of the Great Wall connecting with the vast ocean. Take Bus 25 and transfer to Bus 21 to watch sunset in Pigeon Nest Park in Beidaihe. Stay at Xishan at night. Day 2: take Bus 21 to Lianfeng Hill. Climb the hill and watch sunrise. Overlooking the seaside on the 130-meter-high mountain will make you feel relaxed and happy. Then take a bus to the Gold Coast in Changli County for sandboarding. In the afternoon, return to Middle Beach of Beidaihe, a good place for sea viewing, wave listening, fishing and swimming, and you can play happily on the sunny beach. In the evening, take a train to Beijing. Day 3: arrive in Beijing. In the morning, watch flag-raising ceremony at Tiananmen Square (the time of flag-raising ceremony may change based on sunrise time). Feel the world’s largest urban central square at Tiananmen Square. Have a look at Monument to the People’s Heroes, Great Hall of the People, Chairman Mao Memorial Hall, etc. The Palace Museum is just across the Chang’an Street, and you can visit and feel the culture and magnificence of royal dynasty in the past days. Leave the Palace Museum, take Bus 609, and start to walk through the Nanluoguxiang. Visit featured shops there and enjoy the products with perfect combination of fashion and old Beijing charm. Day 4: visit the largest and best-preserved royal garden in China - the Summer Palace. Climb the magnificent and grand Great Wall, which is the representation and manifestation of Chinese nation’s will and also an enduring miracle in human history. Go along Drum Tower and Shichahai, to get the Nanluoguxiang, listen to old Beijingers’ explanation of cultural connotations of lanes and courtyard dwellings, and experience traditional lifestyle in lanes. Take a train to Zhangjiakou in the evening. Day 5: arrive in Zhangjiakou. Visit Zhangbei Prairie to feel the charm of prairie. Visit Small Mount Wutai; streams flow in main valleys in the mountain, often forming rapids and waterfall; lush trees produce a spectacular sight; As there are lots of remains of ancient buildings, it has been a national natural conservation area. At the north foot of the mountain, there is an extraordinarily magnificent gorge - Jinhekou Valley. As rocks at the river bottom are golden, it is called the “Golden River”. Take a bus to Shuozhou in the evening. Day 6: arrive in Shuozhou. Visit the Wooden Pagoda in Ying County. Since it is made of wooden components, it is generally called Ying County Wooden Pagoda. At a height of 67.31 m, it is the only pagoda of pure wooden structure in China now, hence one of four peculiar pagodas in the world together with Leaning Tower of Pisa, Eiffel Tower in Paris and Pyramids of Egypt. As the only pagoda building of pure wooden structure which is the highest and oldest in China, it stores two Buddhist relics. In the afternoon, visit the ancient site of Shiyu. In the evening, take a bus to Yulin. Day 7: arrive in Yulin. Visit Zhenbei Tower - the first tower along the Great Wall. It occupies a commanding position beside the mountain, clutches at the throat of south and north and locks the gate of Great Wall, hence an important pass and observation tower in ancient times. In the afternoon, go to visit inscriptions on precipices in Red Stone Gorge, renowned as the “small stele forest in frontier fortress”. Red rocks face each other while poplars and willows make pleasant shade. The Great Wall passes through the gorge. Yuxi River surges ahead ceaselessly. It is known as the “most beautiful scenic spot along the Great Wall”. Return to downtown of Yulin for accommodation at night. Day 8: take a bus to Jia County to visit the largest sacred place of Taoism in northwest China - Baiyun Mountain. On the mountain, you can enjoy the views of harmonious mountains and water, cloud winding the mountains, towering pines and cypresses and straight temples. It is a famous Taoist mountain, also called Cuoe Mountain. Located on west bank of surging Yellow River, it has verdant and luxuriant pines and cypresses, and peaks rising up one after another. In summer and autumn, clouds drift past it, making it partly hidden and partly visible from afar. It is well-known as “a place of interest in the east of Shanhaiguan”. The temple on the mountain is the largest ancient complex of Ming and Qing dynasties in northwest China, reputed as a pearl on the Yellow River. Then take a bus to Mizhi County, to visit the temporary imperial palace of Li Zicheng. You can have lunch in the county. The palace is built at the back of mountains and connects and holds up exquisite and elegant Le Building, Plum Blossom Pavilion, Pengsheng Building and the Second Celestial Gate and flying Yuhuang Pavilion. A distinctive palace garden tourism area winds its way orderly and straight up the mountain. In the afternoon, visit the revolutionary site of Yangjiagou Village, to feel the hardship of revolutionary pioneers. Former residences (new yards) of Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai in Yangjiagou Revolution Memorial Hall perfectly combine Western architecture style with architectural culture of cave dwellings of northern Shaanxi. Predecessors of proletarian revolution such as Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai and Ren Bishi led and commanded liberation wars of northwest battlefield and of the nation in person here, held the famous “December Meeting” and did huge amount of theoretical research jobs. As the marking point of victory in the battlefield of northern Shaanxi and the starting point of leaving northern Shaanxi and winning national victory, Yangjiagou occupies an important position in the history of the Communist Party of China and the history of Chinese revolution. Take a bus to Yinchuan in the evening. Day 9: arrive in Yinchuan. For travelling in Yinchuan, the capital of Ningxia, must-see places are the Helan Mountains, Sanguan Pass of the Great Wall of Ming Dynasty, and Zhenbeibao Film Studio. A lot of scenes were shoot here, such as a series of scenes in the film “A Chinese Odyssey” like City Gate Building, City Gate Hole, Cave of Silver Web and “the skies falling and the earth opening up” during fight between Sun Wukong and Bull Demon King, and “Blacksmith Camp” in the film “Ballad of the Yellow River”, and such scenes in the film “Red Sorghum” as Moon Gate, brewery workshop, room of Jiuer (played by Gong Li) and sedan chair of Jiuer when she got married, vats filled with liquor and tableware, and “Bandit Den” in the film “Pluto Action”, and the grand courtyard of Liu family in the film “Wukui”. Take a bus to Wuwei in the evening. Day 10: arrive in Wuwei. Visit Confucius Temple and Leitai Tomb of Han Dynasty. Take a bus to Jiayuguan in the evening. Day 11: arrive in Jiayuguan. Visit Jiayuguan Pass - the No. 1 Impregnable Pass under Heaven, Jiayuguan Cultural Relics Scenic Area - a national 5A level scenic spot and Great Wall Museum. Jiayuguan Pass is the starting point of western end of the Great Wall of Ming Dynasty and is the most grand and best-preserved pass among the whole line of Great Wall, known as “No. 1 Impregnable Pass under Heaven” and “Domination of Great Wall”. The Great Wall Museum is the only museum themed “Great Wall” in west regions of Yellow River and is a theme museum that comprehensively and systematically displays Great Wall culture in west regions of Yellow River. Then drive to the historic Cantilever Great Wall, and you can climb the Cantilever Great Wall and overlook rolling mountains. Then go to “The First Pier of the Great Wall” to feel the spirit of China’s grand canyon and experience suspension bridge between canyons. It is really worthy of the name “The Most Dangerous Pier under the Heaven”! Then the pleasant cultural trip to the Great Wall finishes.