the great wall was renovated from time to time after the qin dynasty. a major renovation started with the founding of the ming dynasty in 1368, and took 200 years to complete. the wall we see today is almost exactly the result of this effort. with a total length of over 6,000 kilometers, it extends to the jiayu pass in gansu province in the west and to the mouth of the yalu river in liaoning province in the east. what lies north of beijing is but a small section of it.
a map of the great wall
the map shows the wall running from jiayu pass of gansu province to shanhai pass of hebei province. representative sections of the great wall built in ming times are situated near shanhai pass, gubeikou and juyong pass.
the badaling section of the great wall snaking along the mountains northwest of beijing was built at the beginning of the ming dynasty in the 14th century. being 7.8 metres high and 5.8 metres wide at the top on the average, it has battle forts at important points, including the corners.
located 10 kilometers south of the badaling section of the great wall and built in an 18.5-kilometre-long valley, the pass has always been an important gateway northwest of beijing. the name is believed to have its origin in the workers and slaves conscripted to build the great wall in ancient times. cloud terrace, built in 1345, was originally the base of a pagoda over looking the main road of the town of the pass. the arched gate of the terrace and the walls inside the arch are decorated with carvings. of elephants, lions, birds, flowers and heavenly kings as well as charms in six languages-sanskrit, tibetan, phats pa (mongolian), uygur, west xia and han.
the mutianyu section of the great wall, 70 kilometers northeast of beijing, is linked to the gubeikou section on the east and the badaling section on the west. it is one of the best sections of the great wall.
the mutianyu section of the great wall is crenelatted for watching and shooting at the invading enemy. some of the battle forts on the wall are as close as 50 metres apart.
located in miyun county northeast of beijing, the jinshanling division of the great wall, like the simatai division, belongs to the gubeikou section of the colossal defence barrier.
the battlements in the jinshanling division of the great wall are built along the ridge of a mountain, where the soldiers can resist the invading enemy by taking advantage of the high terrain.
a decrepit battle fort at dusk often reminds one of the battles in ancient times.