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Home >> China City Guide >> Beijing >> Simatai Great Wall - Beijing trip guide
 
 

Simatai Great Wall

Simatai Great Wall
Simatai Great Wall

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 walls¡±.

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.

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