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China: Wall Ten Thousand Miles Long

Published: 21.1.2013
The Great Wall of China. The Long Wall. The Endless Wall. There are many names for the same wall, the wall that everybody knows wherever he/she lives. If you are Chinese, it is THE wall. You are proud of it because it is a national symbol. As Mao Zedong once said: “Who never got on the Great Wall of China is no man.” Or Chinese.

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So the Great Wall of China has a busy live. Not even I resisted the Wall during my stay inChina and together with my friends we decided it is about the time we take a closer look on the Wall. We also wanted photos as they were from some calendar, so we tried to find some places that weren’t particularly touristic.

Of course that we didn’t have a clue how untouristic our chosen part of the Wall will really be. After usual arguing with a dark skinned cab driver we get off his car in the middle of nowhere. It was January, celebrations of the Spring, and we saw nobody. In front of us were mountains of which we had an ominous feeling. There is that famous Wall? But we can’t see it at all…

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Of course that the Wall was there. This discovery cost us lot of effort because it took us about one hour to get up to the peaks. It was a great joy when you overcome rocky scarps and suddenly you see light bricks flashing through bushes!

Suddenly you don’t know how but you stand on that old Great Wall of China and you can see no ending of it. You just hold your breath at waves of the wall going on steep mountain ridges. Absolute silence, only wind and bird with their cries occasionally break it and you can’t comprehend how somebody could ever built such a thing...

Today we can only argue how many people died on the construction of the Wall, how many of them are a part of it. Its purpose was to protect China against rides from north of the Wall, or at least discourage the riders from attempting to invade China. Today ruins of the Wall, which is in some places interrupted, are more than 8,800 kilometers long.

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We hardly caught our breath and we had to continue. Our plan was simple – on our way on the wall we had to get back to a touristic part of the Wall and get some ride to Beijing. Although, our plan seems simple, the reality is the opposite. After we had walked few kilometers on ruins we ended up on the other side of the Wall, in the position that Mongolian riders had. When we finally got back on the seven meters high Wall, it was getting dark. On one hand it was fabulous, on the other hand the feeling “Gosh, it is beautiful!” was replaced by “In which of these 25 000 watch towers we will sleep?”.

The Great Wall of China was kind to us for this time. Despite total dark we descended back to a valley, alive. At night in Beijing we fell asleep with an image of the Wall in front of our eyes. It is rightfully known as a wonder of the world and we sincerely recommend visiting it. Even if I did my best to tell all my experiences of it, one must just experience the Wall by himself/herself.

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Text/photo: Hana Bášová



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