Mutianyu Great Wall

Mutianyu is a section of the Great Wall of China located in Huairou County 70km northeast of Beijing. The Mutianyu section of the Great Wall is connected with Juyongguan Pass in the west and Gubeikou Gateway in the east. As one of the best-preserved parts of the Great Wall, Mutianyu section of Great Wall used to serve as the northern barrier defending the capital and the imperial tombs.

First built in the mid-6th century during the Northern Qi, Mutianyu Great Wall is older than the Badaling section of the Great Wall. In the Ming dynasty, under the supervision of General Xu Da, construction of the present wall began on the foundation of the wall of Northern Qi. In 1404, a pass was built in the wall. In 1569, the Mutianyu Great Wall was rebuilt and till today most parts of it are well preserved. The Mutianyu Great Wall has the largest construction scale and best quality among all sections of Great Wall.

Built mainly with granite, the wall is 7-8 meters high and the top is 4-5 meters wide. Compared with other sections of Great Wall, Mutianyu Great Wall possesses unique characteristics in its construction.

* Watchtowers are densely placed along this section of the Great Wall - 22 watchtowers on this 2,250-meter-long stretch.

* Both the outer and inner parapets are crenelated with merlons, so that shots could be fired at the enemy on both sides - a feature very rare on other parts of the Great Wall.

 * The Mutianyu Pass consists of 3 watchtowers, one big in the center and two smaller on both sides. Standing on the same terrace, the three watchtowers are connected to each other inside and compose a rarely seen structure among all sections of Great Wall.

Besides, this section of Great Wall is surrounded by woodland and streams. The forest-coverage rate is over 90 percent.

Today, this section of wall is open to visitors. A cable car is available to help visitors. Another feature of the wall at Mutianyu is the wheeled toboggan ride down from the wall on a winding metal track.

Adjacent to the Mutianyu wall is its namesake village, which has been hailed by the Chinese government as a model village because of its rebirth largely thanks to tourism and glassware industries. Mutianyu Village is twinned with the village of Shelburne Falls in the state of Massachusetts.

On August 7th 2007, members of the pro-Tibetan organization, Students for a Free Tibet, targeted the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall between towers 4 and 6, to demonstrate against the Chinese occupation of Tibet and mark the one-year countdown to the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. They hung a 450 sq. ft. banner which read, "One World, One Dream, Free Tibet 2008" in both English and Chinese.

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