You will be picked up from your
about 8:00 am (or 9 am if you prefer) by your English-speaking guide and driver,
and from there we will make the approximately 90-minute
drive to the Ming Tombs. The Ming Tombs, about 50 km/31
miles from Beijing, are where 13 emperors of the Ming
Dynasty (1368-1644) are buried. This site was carefully
chosen for its feng shui principles by the third Ming
emperor Yongle (who also moved the capital from Nanjing
to Beijing and began construction on the Forbidden
City). The tomb we will visit, Dingling (Underground Palace),
is the tomb of the Wanli Emperor. It is the only one of
the Ming Dynasty Tombs to have been excavated. It also
remains the only imperial tomb to have been excavated
since the founding of the People's Republic of China.
After viewing the tombs, we will
head to the “Shenlu”, or the Spirit Way. The Spirit Way
leads into the complex, lined with statues of guardian
animals and officials, with a front gate consisting of a
three-arches, painted red, and called the "Great Red
Gate". The Spirit Way, or Sacred Way, starts with a huge
stone memorial archway lying at the front of the area.
Constructed in 1540, during the Ming Dynasty, this
archway is one of the biggest stone archways in China
a gourmet Chinese lunch, we’ll drive for approximately
90-minutes until we reach the Great Wall at Mutianyu.
The Mutianyu section of the Great Wall is a masterpiece
of restoration, with 22 original style watchtowers.
Mutianyu [moo-tyen-yoo], meaning 'Admire Fields Valley',
is the longest fully-restored Great Wall section open to
tourists. The wall, built with slabs of granite, is 22
km (14 miles) long, seven or eight meters high and four
or five meters wide, crenellated on both sides.
With the greens of pines and
cypresses covering ninety percent of the surrounding
area, the scenery here is beautiful all the year round.
The Mutianyu Section of the Great Wall has 1500 years of
history and today's wall is a replica of the
fortifications of 1568. Construction began on this
section of the Great Wall in the Northern Qi Dynasty
(550-577). During the reign of Emperor Hongwu
(1368-1398), General Xu Da rebuilt the Great Wall on its
original foundation. Mutianyu Pass was fortified in 1404
(the 2nd year of Emperor Yongle's reign) with a rare
triangular formation of three interlinked watchtowers.
Construction was finished on the wall at Mutainyu, as it
now stands, when General Qi Jiguang was transferred the
area to command the garrison in 1568 (the 2nd year of
Emperor Longqing's reign). We’ll spend about 2.5 hours
on the Mutianyu Great Wall.
Once we’re done, you can hike down
to the parking lot, take a cable car, or take a toboggan
ride (highly recommended, and lots of fun!) down to meet
our driver. We’ll then have lunch at a local restaurant,
allowing you to refresh and recharge yourself after
today’s hike. You’ll then be taken back to Beijing,
where you’ll be dropped off at your hotel/hostel, thus
ending your tour.
(German technology). See who is playing here?
|Optional Toboggan Run at Mutianyu
You'll surely be intrigued about taking the toboggan down
from Great Wall to the entrance gate down the hill. You can
ride as fast or as slow as you want. However, it is also a
driving test. One person to a toboggan, you have a little
handle with which you press down to go faster and pull up to
stop. But if you are not intentionally pushing it, it will
slow down anyway. "It is funny when we Westerners are on
there, because we like to go a bit quicker than the Chinese
(read a lot quicker) and you hear the shrill voices of
locals shouting "brake! brake! Slow down!" It is hilarious.
Go on it even if it is just to hear that." --taylorstonebridge on LonelyPlanet
People at age 70 have managed the riding successfully. Can