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Gubeikou Great Wall

(People's Daily Online)

14:46, September 06, 2012

Located along the Yanshan Mountain range in the northeast of Miyun County, south of the hill country of Panlong Mountain and Wohu Mountain, Gubeikou Great Wall occupies a strategically important location which is difficult to access. Situated between Shanhaiguan Pass and Juyongguan Pass, and about 100 kilometers (62 miles) to Beijing, it is the bastion protecting the northern gateway to the capital.

The first section of the wall was built during the Northern Qi Dynasty (550 - 557). Centuries later, General Xuda ordered to rebuild it in the early Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644). The defensive capability of the wall was enhanced by adding more stones. When Qi Jiguang was appointed the chief commanding officer of Ji Garrison (one of the eleven garrisons in Ming Dynasty), he laid another line of brick wall beside the original one, thus forming the unique Gubeikou double-lined Wall.

Today the famous Gubeikou Great Wall stretches for more than 40 kilometers (25 miles). There are 14 beacon towers, 143 watch towers, 16 strategic pass, three citadels and many other military constructions. Many of them are famous cultural relics, such as the Big Flower Beacon Tower of the Northern Qi Dynasty, Fairy Tower, General Tower, and the dominant Wangjing Tower.

The Gubeikou Great Wall construction rates highly as an architectural achievement. The scenic highlights include Wohushan and Panlongshan.

Wohushan Great Wall
'Wohu' means 'Crouching Tiger' in English, because the mountain looks like two tigers, one lying on its back while the other lies on its stomach. Located in the western section of the Gubeikou Great Wall, its highest peak measures about 665 meters (2,181 feet). A watch tower is erected every 150 meters (492 feet) of the wall, overlooking a deep valley or mounted on a strategically important hilltop. A professor from Beijing University compares the wall to a huge cursive script work with the watch towers providing the pausing or transitional strokes. It retains its fascination today as its raw condition is still evident.

Panlongshan Great Wall
West of Wohushan Great Wall, it is located in the middle section of Gubeikou, where most of the historical wars took place. In ancient times, both warring parties placed emphasis on securing the Panlongshan Great Wall, because each knew that once the wall was captured, the Gubeikou Great Wall would be readily occupied. The whole wall measures about 13 kilometers (3.1 miles). Of its over 40 watch towers, the General Tower is the most famous. It is located at the commanding elevation of Panlongshan Mountain, from where wars were directed. There are four arrow windows on the north and south sides respectively, while each of the east and west sides has three arrow windows. This section of the wall is of unique construction: it is made up of earth walls, stone walls and brick walls. And it is also preserved in its original state.

Transportation
By Bus
a. Take a bus to Chengde City or Luanping County at Sihui long-distance bus station, the bus leaves at about every half an hour between 05:10 and 16:05. Get off at Gubeikou Tunnel and you will see the wall.

b. Take a bus to Miyun County at Dongzhimen long-distance bus station in Beijing, get off at Miyun Bus Station, and take a minibus to Gubeikou, but most of the minibuses at Miyun Bus Station are privately owned, which are less safe than the state owned buses. It is advisable to take state-owned buses, you are advised to get off at Gulou (Bell Tower) in Miyun County, and take the state-owned minibus to the north of Miyun Hospital. It costs about CNY 3 to Gubeikou.

By Car
Start from Siyuanqiao Bridge, take Jingshun Lu and reach Kuliushu Roundabout, head for the direction of Miyun, reach Niulanshan Roundabout, drive along the National Highway 101, pass Miyun County and Taishitun, and you will arrive at Gubeikou Town.

By Train
The following trains stop at Gubeikou Station:
Train No. Leave from – Go to Departure Time Reach Gubeikou at
4449 Beijing North - Longhua 16:43 20:41
2559 Beijing North - Chifeng 20:59 04:07
2189 Beijing - Wulanhaote 15:30 18:10

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