The Great Wall at Huangyaguan
Huangyaguan (Yellow-Crag Pass), is about 130 kilometres east of Beijing. Originally constructed in the 6th century and rebuilt by the Ming Dynasty during the 15th and 16th century, this section of the wall was considered strategically important, and the heavily fortified Huangya (Yellow Crag) Pass was described as "the eastern gate" of the capital city. Thus a variety of fortifications has been constructed, including walls, beacon towers, and a walled fortress attached with an above-water wall. On either side the Great Wall winds its way through rugged hills and over dangerously steep cliffs which descend almost vertically.The scenery is fantastic, a clear blue stream running through the old fortress, which is flanked by high steep hills and overlooked by sheer crags to the west.
The old fortress was carefully restored in 1980s. From a bird's-eye view it's like a specially designed labyrinth. In fact it was built according to a so-called Baguan pattern (an ancient cleverly laid out design). If the enemy attacked, they would get lost within the fortress. Some new features have been added to the original structures, including the Great Wall Museum, the Garden of Longevity and Forest of Steles. The Forest of Steles is usually a collection of engraved stone tablets, inscribed with beautiful writing to convey some kind of culture, like Chinese calligraphy, classical poetry, records of historical events etc. Here on display is also the Chinese calligraphy, but the content is a collection of Mao's poetry. Chairman Mao, the late Chinese leader, was actually a very talented poet as well.
The Huangyaguan International Marathon is annually held here, and a part of the race is on the Great Wall. In addition, hiking along this section of the wall is an exhilarating experience, as the walls here vary in size, shape and building material.