Beijing 2009 - The Greatwall at Badaling

Chairman Mao once said "You are not a Real Man until you have visited the Greatwall". The Greatwall must be one of the most visited sites in China. Even President Nixon toured the Greatwall at Badaling during his momentous visit to China in 1972.

The first sections of the Greatwall were built in the 5th Century B.C. Subsequently it has been built and rebuilt by the Emperors of succeeding Dynasties. The total length is around 8,800 km (5,500 miles), way short of the 10,000 miles in it's Chinese name. It's main purpose was to ward off the frequent attacks of the  Manchus and Mongols in the North.

Building the Greatwall was such an ardous task that tens of thousands have died in the process. It was even rumoured that human blood was mixed into the mortar to strengthen the structure.

One of the most famous legends surrounding the Greatwall was the Legend of Meng Jiang Ni. Meng Chiang Ni was universally recognised as one of the top 10 great beauties in ancient China. After a short blissful marriage, her husband was rounded up to construct the Greatwall. Having heard nothing of the husband after his departure, she set off to the construction site looking for him. When she arrived there, she was told that her husband had died. Hearing the news, she collapsed and cried her heart out. Soon the storm clouds gathered and there was a huge downpour, and a section of the wall collapsed.

When he heard the report, the Emperor was furious and summoned for Meng Jiang Ni to be taken to the Palace, intent on punishing this little girl who had caused the wall to collapse. When he set his eyes on her he immediately changed his mind, for he was stunned by her beauty. So he told Meng Chiang Ni that he would spare her any punishment if she agreed to become his concubine. To everyone's surprise, Meng Chiang Ni agreed, on the condition that the Emperor gave her husband a grand state funeral. The Emperor agreed, and a lavish funeral befitting a high official was arranged. She then told the Emperor that she needed to visit the husband's village to pay her last respects, which he also agreed. When she arrived at her husband's home town, she killed herself, leaving the Emperor empty handed. 

The section of Greatwall at Badaling was built during the Ming Dynasty in the 13th Century. It is said to be one of the most scenic sections of the Greatwall. You can judge for yourself from my pictures.

The mountain ranges around Badaling are really majestic and you can see where the inspiration of Chinese paintings came from.


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