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ART & LEISURE: Have you heard of The Great Wall?
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Have you heard of The Great Wall?

By Nadia N.

BT 201604 215 01 Art LeisureIt is hard to imagine China without its main tourist attraction - The Great Wall. It is a great feat of labour, an embodiment of people’s love for their motherland, and a piece of art. But, unfortunately, even for its popularity and renown, there isn’t that much that people know about this amazing place. And one of the lesser known facts about the Great Wall of China is that part of it is located near Tianjin.

Huangya Pass or Yellow Cliff Pass is a small part of the Great Wall that is located 126 kilometres from Tianjin’s urban zone. It was built over 1,400 years ago during the Qi Dynasty and reinforced with brick walls during the Ming Dynasty. Stretching for more than 42 kilometres -- from the General Pass in Beijing to Malan Pass in Hebei -- there once used to be over 50 watchtowers and 14 beacon towers in total. However, due to a lack of renovation and reconstruction, today Huangya is missing a great number of its parts. Starting from 1984, people started to pay deserved attention to this historical place, and a large part of Huangya has now been renovated.

The eastern part of Huangya Pass is mostly made of yellow rocks that make it look golden and shiny. This is where the place got its poetic name. It is known not only for its beauty -- surrounded by mountains --- but Huangya Pass also became one of the most important parts of the Wall. Within the pass, over 40 streets form the shape of an eight diagram, giving the Huangya another name - Eight Diagram Fortification City. In the centre of the Eight Diagram streets, visitors can find a museum (located in a former dispatcher building), and have a closer look at military supplies and war weapons, as well as daily items of the soldiers of the Ming Dynasty.

During ancient times, when the wall could halt unfriendly neighbouring countries, The Yellow Cliff was an amazing defense system, loaded with weapons and soldiers at all times. Little towers that rise up from the wall - watchtowers, round and square ones - were used to monitor surroundings in every direction. Outside of them are outposts, standing every 5-6 metres. And, of course, ramparts to reinforce the defensive system inside the wall.

BT 201604 215 03 Art Leisure Huangyaguan Great Wall
Nowadays it is impossible to imagine that one nation could produce something like this but centuries ago, people needed to build up this giant stone snake, The Great Wall, by working in inhuman conditions - to ensure the peace and freedom of their home. Beyond the beautiful modern scenery of the ancient landmark hides the enormous sacrifices. Huangyan has one lonely watchtower - Widow Tower. It is a two-storey beacon tower donated by twelve women whose husbands dedicated their lives to building the Wall, but died during the process. Besides its military purposes and strategic value, Widow Tower is worth a closer look - you can find phoenixes, roaring lions and dragons on its eaves and roof.

One of the most breathtaking and entertaining parts of the Huangya Pass is a famous Sky Ladder - 503-metre ladder that leads to the original Great Wall built during the Northern Qi Dynasty. Looking up to the end of the steps, you may decide it is a shortcut to the sky - how high and precipitous it is! Sky Ladder is a dangerous path to take - steps are cracked, not smooth, and it is a long way to fall down! Though, this is the way the Tianjin part of The Great Wall brings the curtain down.


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