The Great Wall of China. It’s the very first thing you think of when you think of China. Many people think it is one continuous wall that goes from one end of the country to the other. However, that is not the case. It is many different sections. Some are restored and are more touristy and some are remote and almost crumbling away which makes a visit to these places very difficult. We have been so fortunate to do a few sections of the wall during our stay in China, and with James visiting there is a couple more that has been on our list. Shanhaiguan. It is the place where the Great Wall meets the sea. And Jiumenko. It is the only section of the wall where water passes through each of the nine gates.
The Shanhai pass or Shanhaiguan in Chinese is one of the major passes in the Great Wall. It is always fun to try and find different things to do when James visits. This is his third visit to China and David and I saved this wall section to see with him and his friend.
In 1961, Shanhaiguan became a National Cultural Site of China. It is a popular tourist destination given its situation at the eastern end of the main line of the Ming Dynasty Great Wall. This location where the wall meets the Bohai Sea is nicknamed “Old Dragon’s Head.” Shanhaiguan Pass holds the strategic route from north China to north-east China. Jiaoshan Mountain is the first mountain the Great Wall climbs in Hebei Province. The Laolongtou is the section where the wall meets the sea, that is why it is compared to the head of this giant dragon of a wall!
Jiumenkou , This section was first built in Northern Qi Dynasty (479 – 502) and was an important military pass over a long period of time. It was rebuilt to a larger scale in the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644). The southern end of the wall starts from the mountains, connecting to the section of the wall running from Shanhaiguan Pass. It climbs along the mountain ridge finally arriving at the banks of Jiujiang River. The wide river doesn’t stop the wall’s resolute pace forward. A huge wall bridge stretches over the river, forcing its way to the north.
The most significant part of Jiumenkou Great Wall is the section above the river. Seven hundred thousand hectares of rectangular stone slabs are embedded on the bed of the Jiujiang River, and the stones are held down by iron chain, which creats a famous sight of white stones. Nine arches standing above the stones serves as sluiceways, hence, the wall is called ‘Jiumenkou’, ‘Nine Gateways’ in English. The wall bridge is constructed over the arches connecting the two banks of the Jiujiang River. Two walled cities, both used as fortresses, are erected at both ends of the wall. This was an amazing section of wall to see.