Great Wall at Mutianyu
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The Mutianyu Section Great Wall lies about 70 kilometers ( 43, 4 miles ) northeast of Beijing in Huairou County. This section measures 2,250 meters in length with 22 watchtowers, but now only 1, 700- meter ]ong wall with 14- watchtowers is open to the public.
The elevation at Mutianyu Pass is not that high, only 486 meters in height, but the highest point on the top of the mountain is over 1,000 meters above the sea level. Striding right at a communication hinge, it was astrategic pass built in the Ming Dynasty. To its east is Gubeikou and to its west is Juyong Pass. This pass was strategically built in mountains, so it was of military and strategic importance in ancient times. It was such a strategic point that witnessed fierce contests again and again through China's history.
This section was first built some 1,400 years ago during the period of the Southern Qi (479-502) in Northern and Southern dynasties. This section of the Great Wall was repaired, renovated ami expanded in the Ming Dynasty. General Xu Da of the Ming Dynasty began the construction of the Great Wall from Shanhaiguan Pass to Mutianyu in 1368 and had Mutianyu Pass built in 1404. In I569, the famous patriotic generals Tan Lan and Qi Jiguang rebuilt and restored this part.
They added more watch-towers here. Qi jiguang, a famous
Ming general made many merits and achievements in his life arid won many
battles in southeast China. He organized an adequate labor force to reinforce
the original wall by building it higher and wider. He also had 1,200 watch-towers
built along the Wall from the Shanhaiguan Pass to Changping. This kind
of construction of thewatch-towers not only offered the defending soldiers
enough shelters and for storing arms and ammunition but also a solid work
of defence in an effective way, thereby greatly reinforcing the combat
strength. At the same time, they prepared the stones, rolling logs and
stone-mines for defending and attacking. Actually the watch-towers were
built along the Wall during Qi Jiguang's terms of office, in addition,
a great number of stone-mines were unearthed during the exploration of
the section of Great Wall at Mutianyu.
The protrusions of the Great Wall for several meters or several dozen meters long on which watch- towers were built. This part of Wall is known as "Branch Wall", which was on the mountain ridge but connected with the main Wall. Since the Branch Walls with watch towers built on it, so the Branch WaLl could control :the high vantage points to protect the main part of the Wall. The Branch Walls really played an important role in the past.
The Mutianyu area has dense woods and rich pastures. Unlike other sections, Mutianyu area has beautiful landscape all the year round. In spring the mountain sides are decorated with peach and plum blossom; in summer, people feel cool here with the luxuriant green trees and grass; in autumn, golden color can be seen everywhere with the tree leaves and fruits- apples, pears, walnuts, chestnuts, red and crimson; and in winter, snow presents another attractive scene overthe Great Wall.
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