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The Great Wall at Dongjiakou 

49 kilometers north of Qinhuangdao City , Dongjiakou Pass is among piling peaks and verdant trees . Along the 8.9-kilometer long Great Wall in this section , there are 36 watch towers , 28 wall towers , 16 beacon towers and 3 castles . The highest point is 556 meters above sea level . Except the castles , the rest are still well preserved till now .

The three castles were forts in Ming Dynasty , namely Dongjiakou Fort , Damaoshan Fort and Chengziyu Fort , where the garrison guarding the Great Wall of Ming stationed . But they developed into villages gradually . One kilometer east of Dongjiakou Village is Damaoshan Village while two kilometers west of it lies Chengziyu Village .

This section of the Great Wall that has been developed into tourist site locates in the north of Damaoshan Village . There are six watch towers along the way . Fourplaces may be of special interest to tourists .

        The Dongjiakou (sometimes called Jizhen) Great Wall was initially built in 1381 AD, In 1571AD, Qijiguang, a famous general in the Ming Dynasty transformed it into a first-class border wall. With a length of 8.9 kilometers, this portion of the Great Wall winds its way up and down the Stone Step Mountain, the Damao Mountain, and (finally) the Rock Mountain. It has 2 strategic passes, 31 Watchtowers, 14 Beacon Towers, and three Fortresses: the Pochengzi Fortress, the Dongjiakou Fortress, and Damao

Fortress. (Today, only the ruins of the Damao Fortress can be found , south of Dongjiakou village). Although the Dongjiakou Great Wall of the Ming Dynasty is more than 620 years old , it has remained one of the best-preserved sections of the Great Wall of the Ming Dynasty.

       This accomplishment can be attributed to the inhabitants of Dongjiakou village. The villagers of Dongjiakou are the descendants of the builders and guards of the Great Wall. Therefore, the villagers have taken it upon themselves to maintain this section of the Wall as original as possible. Due to lack of personal money, they have been able to restore only a small section, but have done a remarkable job none-the-less. Old bricks were collected and re-deployed to repair broken sections. The original arch-stone, displaying a beautiful sculpture of two lions playing with a ball of silk, was re-installed onto the Watchtower's Gate, although other arch-stones with elegant Chinese characters in relief are still lying in the corner for future renovations. It is interesting to note that a local villager, Mr. Sun, has taken it upon himself to make a voluntary daily inspection of the Wall to ensure its safety.

       Visiters to this part of the Great Wall are privileged to see a rare sight - the Cihou Tower. Cihou is a solid command post with no roof, giving the defenders a 360-degree-view of the whole area. This 4-sided structure has 24 observation holes(6 on each side). This structure can not be found anywhere else. It is interesting to notice that there are quite a few watchtowers named after the surnames of various historical commanders: the Sun's Watchtower, the Gen's Watchtower, the Wang's Watchtower, etc. And one will find the Sun, Gen, Wang are the three most-common surnames of the villagers.

In the neighbouring area there is still another spot worth visiting , the Temple of Guan Yu ( a legendary hero during the Three Kingdoms in Chinese history , also called Guandi , King Guan ) in Zouliuhe Village three kilometers from Dongjiakou . Not big as it is , the temple boasts frescos and couplets of fine taste . Instances of the frescos are the ones portraying Guanyu " bidding farewell to Cao Cao " , and Guanyu " slashing Qi Qin " . There are good examples of the couplets like the one saying to the effect that Guanyu " lighting a candle at night not to avoid suspicion , but because worrying about Han ( one of the three kingdoms ) , he is anxious to go back " ; " in the battle of Huarong , Guan Yu let Cao Cao go , not with a view to returning his favor but because he disdained Cao Cao " . Or the one saying that " because of his lofty aspirations , Guanyu achieved a lot for Han , his heart shines with the sun and the moon and his courage lives as long as the heaven . "

Taveller's tip:

a. The entrance to this part is RMB15/person, partly of whicht is used to help fund repairs planned for the remaining, un-restored part of the Wall.
b. Offering pristine forest and graceful mountains, Dongjiakou is not only a good place for Great Wall hiking and seeing the ruins of old fortresses, but it is also a nice place to visit for its natural beauty. Planning for extra time in this area is recommended.

Hiking from Dongjiakou westward to Xiaohekou takes about six hours, passing the Chengzhiyu village and the ruins of its fortress on the way. It is a very pleasant hike. However as this area is not well-mapped, to avoid wasting time trying to find the right way, it is better to have an ex perienced hiking leader with you. Contact us  for information in detail and/or to engage a hiking leader.

Unique charms of the 'Feminine Great Wall'

The Great Wall of China has always inspired the imagination of masculine vigor and an atmosphere of heated conflict. But recently archeologists have discovered a section of the wall in North China's Hebei Province, which they describe as the "Feminine Great Wall".

Built at least 430 years ago, this section of the Great Wall is located on the perilous mountains in Dongjiakou village, Funing County in North China's Hebei Province. The "Feminine Great Wall" also serves as a boundary between Liaoning Province and Hebei Province. Stretching over 8 kilometers, the wall is still durable and intact after hundreds of years, with its 31 watchtowers, 18 stations and 14 beacon towers. As an important fortification on the north of the "First Pass of the Great Wall" - the Shanhaiguan Pass -- the Dongjiakou Great Wall is located 38 kilometers from the tourist city of Qinhuangdao. The highest point of the wall is 556 meters above the sea level. Only traces of the three castles originally built along the wall can be found today. Apart from the castles, other parts of the wall have been very well preserved. Built on steep granite ridges, the Dongjiakou Great Wall is a good example of the defense system of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). 

Watchtowers, which are distributed all the way along the wall, served as resting places for soldiers and provided shelter from the rain. Stone vaulted gates were built on the two sides of the watchtowers, with various carvings. Even after hundreds of years, some of the carved images of rosy clouds and lotus flowers are still recognizable, representing peace and love in China's traditional culture.

According to Hao Sanjin, a researcher at China Great Wall Association, the decorative patterns were rarely seen on other sections of the Great Wall built in the Ming Dynasty. "Bricks carved with characters indicating unit designation and time of construction have been very often found on parts of the Great Wall built in the Ming Dynasty, some containing characters such as 'jing zhong bao guo' ("serve the motherland with selfless loyalty"),' noted Hao, adding that "the relief sculptures with such soft and beautiful lines are very rare."
Unique charms of the 'Feminine Great Wall'

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