This Saturday (17th) I did one of the most incredible tours of my life and that will be etched in my memory forever. I attended a camp on the Great Wall of China, with the right to a sunset party.
In the company of fellow Latin American and Caribbean journalists who participate in the same program as me and other foreigners who live here in the country, including Argentines, Australians and French, I took a walk, took a cable car and stayed overnight in a tent under a starry and a waning moon.
The Great Wall is made up of a series of fortifications made of stone, brick, compacted earth, wood and other materials. It is made up of several sections running east-west across the northern borders of China. The first sections were built in the 7th century BC and later they were joined, enlarged and fortified.
The most famous part was built between 220 and 206 BC by Qin Shi Huang, the first Chinese emperor of the Qin Dynasty. Little of this building remained standing. Over these millennia, the Great Wall was built, rebuilt, maintained and improved. Most of the existing stretch is from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
In addition to protecting the country from invasion by military forces from abroad, other purposes of the Great Wall included customs control of goods transported along the Silk Road and immigration control. Along the construction there are watchtowers, troop barracks, garrison stations, points for signaling through smoke or fire and a transport corridor.
The Great Wall stretches from the west, from Jiayuguan City in northwest Gansu Province in the east to the mouth of the Yalujiang River in northeast Liaoning Province. It crosses the Gobi Desert, four provinces (Hebei, Shanxi, Shaanxi and Gansu) and two autonomous regions (Inner Mongolia and Ningxia).
In 2012 it was announced that the Great Wall measures 21,196 kilometers in totality and is approximately 7 meters high. This measure covers all walls that were ever built, even those that no longer exist. In 2007, after an informal international competition, it was considered one of the seven wonders of the modern world. Since 1986, it has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The claim that the Great Wall of China is the only human-made work that can be seen with the naked eye from space is false. When Yang Liwei became the first taikonaut to orbit Earth in 2004, he declared that the colossal work was not visible. Which does not diminish the magnitude of this place in any way.
The stretch I visited is in the Huanghuacheng district and is the only part of the Great Wall by the lake, named after this location in Beijing, and one of the top hiking destinations. Visitors can also take a boat to see the building from a different angle. Who knows, maybe I’ll do this route at another time? Located 70 kilometers from the Chinese capital, it took me two hours by bus to get there.
At the foot of the hill is a lush garden of chestnut trees that was planted by Ming Dynasty soldiers assigned to stand guard there. At the end of the route, at the top of the hill, is the Dongliushi Tower which is the highest point of this stretch and where we set up camp with the right to a stunning panoramic view.
The first part of the climb I did on foot. But the steepest stretch, the wall itself, I took a cable car to spare my hips. wise decision. The steps are extremely high and the effort would make me very sick.
After setting up the tent, we watched the sunset show, shared a meal, listened to music and danced, chatted and took many pictures. I made a point of taking my Lula towel and paraded around the camp. So much so that those who don’t know my name call me by the name of our future president and greet me with the L made by the thumb and index finger.
The elections in Brazil, by the way, arouse a lot of interest from foreigners, especially from our Latin neighbors. Guille, for example, an Argentine who has lived in China for several years, insisted on borrowing my towel to register his support for Lula.
I took several photos snuggled in the image of our former president and may I hope it will be for the third time from the first day of January 2023 for Brazil to be happy again. As soon as the sun came up, before I left, I did my hope dance with the magnificent scenery of the Great Wall of China in the background.
See you tomorrow!