The “Ten-Thousand Mile Long Wall” (万里长城), most commonly known as the Great Wall of China, is one of the Seven Wonders of the (modern) World. Long beyond 8,000 km (5,000 miles), thousands (or millions) are the tourists that every year crowd its stone-made stairs in Badaling, nearby Beijing. However there are not many people reaching the more remote areas of the Great Wall, places like Chenjiapu or Qinglonggiao.

Below: picture by fuzheado shared via Flickr – licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Even though many people know about the areas nearby Beijing, not so many are the visitors of the Old Dragon’s Head, the area which, traditionally, identifies as the beginning and the end of the Wall, wanted by the first emperor Qin Shi Huang. The spot where the Wall meets with the sea is in the small city of  Shanhaiguan, in the area of Hebei, traditionally known as the Shanhai Pass

This part of the Wall, built during the Ming Dynasty gives to it a dragon look, which lays its head on the Bohai Sea. It was built as a military fort, strategic defence spot both for the sea and land attacks .

By looking at the collapsed part in the sea, it is possible to notice the remains of the materials of the original building, made out of rice syrup, soil, sand and lime.

Below: the path of the Wall

How to get there

The direct high speed train going from Beijing to Shanhaiguan takes approximately 2-3 hours to get to its destination. The local bus is the number 25 and is in front of the station heading towards the Laolongtou Scenic Area. To the North of the train station there is the Jiaoshan section of the Wall. Both areas can be visited in one day.

Matteo Rubboli

I am a publisher specialised in the digital distribution of culture and founder of the portal Vanilla Magazine. I don't wear a tie or branded clothes, I keep my hair short so I don't have to comb it. That's not my fault but just the way I've been drawn as...

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