China's Great Wall Museum
Coming to China and not visiting the Great Wall is like going to Egypt and neglecting the pyramids. It is the equivalent of not really visiting the ancient civilization. One of the architectural wonders of the world, the scope of the Great Wall dates from when the Qin dynasty unified China. It reaches a hypothetical 'ten thousand li' from east to west: its name in Chinese literally means the ten thousand-li Long Wall. This term is descriptive: a li is roughly one-third of a mile and ten?thousand Ii signifies a very long distance. Different parts of the Wall were constructed through the many dynasties of Chinese history, over the course of more than two thousand years. In extent, though not in one connected line, the different parts of the Wall stretch from the portal known as Jiayuguan in Gansu in the west all the way to the pass called Shanhaiguan in Hebei in the east. During the Ming dynasty many parts of the wall were rebuilt using stone blocks and earthen bricks that had been used before. The resulting Wall represents much of what can be seen today.
The Great Wall in the vicinity of Beijing's 'Badaling Pass' is the best part of the Ming dynasty reconstructed wall. This section uses stones as the foundation and pounded-earth as the core, and is faced with a special kind of brick. Its average height is 7.8 meters and average breadth is 6.5 meters: it could accommodate five or six horses riding abreast along the top. At intervals along the wall are towers for both surveillance and for shooting; also fire towers that were used to transmit military information. Portals allow passage at certain intervals: the great portal outside Beijing is known as Juyongguan.
In 1994, a 'China's Great Wall Museum' was built on the western side of the Badaling Pass. Its exhibition hall covers 3,000 square meters and is divided into several exhibition rooms. The permanent exhibition is composed of eight different parts: the historical Great Wall, the Ming?dynasty Great Wall, the building and fortifications, the Great Wall's military and political significance, economic and cultural exchange along the Great Wall, literature and arts, Love My China Repair My Great Wall, the First among Famous Places, and Rainbow of Friendship. Exhibitions in these various sections display all kinds of historical objects and show functions of the Wall that included both peaceful economic exchange and protective military power.
In addition to the locations for viewing the Great Wall north of Beijing, many other parts of the Wall can be visited as well. The portal in the far west, called Jiayuguan, is known as the 'greatest pass under heaven and is well worth visiting. The one in the east, at Shanhaiguan or 'Mountain-Ocean-Pass,' is of tremendous significance in Chinese history. All of these are open to visitors and have historical objects on display.
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More Museums in Beijing City