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Pass By: Mutianyu Great Wall, Mutianyu Road, Huairou District, Beijing China
As one of the best-preserved parts of the Great Wall, the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall used to serve as the northern barrier defending the capital and the imperial tombs. First built in the mid-6th century during the Northern Qi, Mutianyu Great Wall is older than the Badaling section of the Great Wall. In the Ming dynasty, under the supervision of General Xu Da, construction of the present wall began on the foundation of the wall of Northern Qi. In 1404, a pass was built in the wall. In 1569, the Mutianyu Great Wall was rebuilt and till today most parts of it are well preserved.
Compared with other sections of Great Wall, the Mutianyu Great Wall possesses unique characteristics in its construction. Watchtowers are densely placed along this section of the Great Wall - 22 watchtowers on this 2,250-meter-long stretch. Both the outer and inner parapets are crenellated with merlots, so that shots could be fired at the enemy on both sides - a feature very rare on other parts of the Great Wall. The Mutianyu Pass consists of 3 watchtowers, one big in the center and two smaller on both sides. Standing on the same terrace, the three watchtowers are connected to each other inside and compose a rarely seen structure among all sections of Great Wall. This section of the Great Wall has seen its fair share if important visitors, from world leaders (including former U.S. President Bill Clinton and British Prime Minister John Major), to sports clubs (the NBA's Houston Rockets).
While Mutianyu does get its fair share of visitors, it does not get as packed as Badaling, allowing you to have a peaceful time exploring the wall. After walking around on Mutianyu, you have the option of coming down via walking, taking a cable car, or taking a toboggan ride (lots of fun and highly recommended!).