Simatai Great Wall is situated at Gubeikou
Twon, Miyun County, 120 km (75 mi) northeast of Beijing.
It stretches 5.4 km from Wangjinglou (Tower for Viewing
the Capital) in the east and connects Jinshanling Great
Wall in the west. Originally built in the North Qi Dynasty
(550-577), it was reconstructed by General Qi Jiguang
in the reign of Emperor Wanli from the Ming Dynasty
(1368-1644). It consists of 35 watch towers and still
retains the original architecture feature of the Ming
Dynasty. This section was restored again by Chinese
government in 1987 and opened to the public in 1990.
Simatai Great Wall was listed as World Cultural Heritage
by UNESCO in 1987.
The Simatai Great Wall incorporates
a variety of styles of other parts of the China Wall,
but also display some unique features. This section
of the wall is always describes as: perilous, dense,
diverse, ingenuous and peculiar. Luo Zhewen, a pretigious
Great Wall expert, praised ¡°Great Wall of
China is the best architecture all around the world,
while Simatai section deserves the best among all China
With 15 watch towers in the east and
20 watch towers in the west, Simatai Great Wall is divided
by a lake, named the Mandarin Duck Lake, which is fed
by two springs, one is warm, and the other is cold.
Even in winter time the lake never ice up. The both
sections are linked up by a suspension bridge. Today
there's a zip line (flyingfox) over the lake for travellers
to slide down quickly. The hills in the west are sloping
gently with well-maintained towers, and the wall is
winding on the hills like a golden dragon with majestic
vigor. The towers are densely dotted in the eastern
section and covered the peaks thousand meters high.
Major attractions in the east include the Tower for
Viewing the Capital, Fairy (Angel's) Tower, Stairway
to the Heaven and Sky Bridge. Unfortunately these places
are closed to public due to safety conerns.
Tower for Viewing the Capital (Tower
No. 15): at an elevation of 986 meters, it is regarded
as the summit of the Simatai Great Wall. It is said
that in a clear day one can see the lights of Beijing
shimmering in the distance 120 km away.
Fairy (Angel's) Tower (Tower No. 14):
With a sculpture of twin lotus flowers above the arched
doors, it is considered by many to be the most beautiful
of all towers and is known for its architecture. Legend
goes that it was the dwelling place for an antelope
reincarnated in the form of an angel who fell in love
with a shepherd nearby.
Stairway to the Heaven: Climbing the
mountainside at a steep 85-degree gradient, the Stairway
to the Heaven is the only way to the Tower for Viewing
Capital and the Fairy Maiden Tower. Stretching upward
along the abrupt mountain ridges, the narrowest part
is just 30 centimeters wide.
Sky Bridge: As little as 40 centimeters
wide in places, this 100-meter long segment of the wall
connects the Fairy Tower to the Tower for Viewing Capital.
It is said that only brave man, or foolish man, can
traverse the Sky Bridge.
At Tower No. 5, at the northern window
in the eastern wall, you can find the original bricks
carrying inscriptions of the date on which they were
made and the code numbers of the armies that made them.
You can walk up the wall by foot or by chairlift. By
walking way you will start hiking the wall from Tower
No. 2 and straight up to Tower 13. By chairlift you
reach Tower 5 or 8, then continue the hiking to the
end of Tower 13. For those who have exercise often can
do the hiking up and down by the same way, otherwise
take the charilift up and then come down by foot. Remember,
try the zip line (flyingfox) when coming down, it's
a lot of fun.
Normally when you book a sightseeing
tour to Simatai, you will do the Simatai East section
of 13 towers. Fo those who want to do a hiking between
Simatai and Jinshanling, they will hike from Jinshanling
to Simatai West or reverse the route. Camping on the
wall, fishing and swimming in the lake are not allowed.