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Witness to storied history

By Sun Ruisheng/Li Yang | China Daily | Updated: 2022-10-01 09:33
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Thanks to the effective protection of the historical wonder, the outer Great Wall in the north of Datong remains today like a dragon stretching over 250 kilometers in the north of Shanxi over mountain ranges.

Because of the various types of terrain as well as the need to adapt to the requirements of different wars, the Great Wall in Datong took various forms and structures, which is rare compared to the rest of the Great Wall, and acts as proof that Datong used to be the main battlefield among all strongholds of the Great Wall that stretches more than 21,000 kilometers from the Bohai Bay to the Hexi Corridor in Gansu province.

Today, the Great Wall has become a tourist attraction, and decades of peace have seen it embedded seamlessly into local natural landscapes and environments. For instance, the Lierkou section of the Great Wall built during the Ming Dynasty in Tianzhen county of Datong, is regarded the most intriguing section of the Great Wall in north Shanxi, whose charm is reflected in "four beauties and one spectacle".

The so-called "four beauties", refer to the four seasons each having beautiful scenery, spring for the "apricot reflecting the Great Wall", summer for the "cold moon edging the Great Wall", autumn for the "red leaves dying the Great Wall", winter for the "snow capping the Great Wall"; The so-called "one spectacle" refers to a section of "mis-built" Great Wall, which runs north-south from the foot of the mountain and climbs to the top of the mountain along the ridge, showing an inverted T-shape branching out from the main section of the Great Wall, which is rare across the entirety of this grand project. While some argue that it could not be a mistake as it might have served certain functions during a special period of time, its true purpose remains unknown today.

The Wulushan section of the Great Wall in Zuoyun county of Datong is one of the few sections of the Great Wall that features the co-existence of walls built in multiple dynasties. The Great Wall of the Han Dynasty (202 BC-220) and the Great Wall of the Northern Qi Dynasty (550-577) run across the wilderness; The Great Wall of the Ming Dynasty is more complete, like a dragon winding up and down along the 2,200-meter-high Motianling mountain range, heroic and spectacular, becoming the highest part of the Great Wall.

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