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Thread: Great Wall of China

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by PalmStriker View Post
    Great Walls make great neighbors.
    Manchu horsemen probably thought that Great Walls make for great challenges! As Trump once said you can go over the wall, under the wall, etc to get through/over da wall! The best advice for a New Generation
    Qing (1644-1911/12)

  2. #17
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    65K cap

    I think the last time I was at Badaling was in the late 90s. It was nowhere near as bad as 65K. That's ridiculous.

    Badaling Great Wall will limit number of visitors to 65,000 per day starting in June
    You now need to reserve your visit online up to seven days beforehand
    by Maryjoyce Austin May 29, 2019 in News



    Starting from June, the number of daily visitors to the Badaling section of the Great Wall will be limited to only 65,000 as a new online ticket booking system is implemented in hopes of easing congestions at China’s most famous tourist attraction.

    The restored section of the Great Wall of China at Badaling, located about 80 kilometers northwest of Beijing, is the most visited section of the wall, tallying nearly 10 million visitors in 2018. Each national holiday, the wall is inevitably jammed-packed with tourists.

    On the Badaling Great Wall website and through the site’s WeChat official account (八达岭长城) you can reserve a visit to the wall up to seven days in advance. Then, on the day of your visit, you can show your booking and identity card or passport to gain access.

    After that, you are free to enjoy the wall with only a mere 64,999 other people!
    Gene Ching
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  3. #18
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    Dong Yao-hui

    What's it like to walk the entire length of China's Great Wall?
    Words by Maggie Hiufu Wong, CNN. Video by Yong Xiong, Charlie Stewart and Harry Forbes • Updated 18th June 2019

    Luanping, China (CNN) — On a warm spring morning in 1984, Dong Yao-hui and his two young friends, Wu De-yu and Zhang Yuan-hua, pulled on military surplus backpacks and boots and set out on a hike along a stretch of the Great Wall of China.
    Their walk began at Laolongtou -- or the Old Dragon's Head -- in Shanhai Pass, where what was once believed to be the easternmost stretch of the Wall reaches into the Bohai Sea. From there they forged westward toward the mountains of Hebei province and the vast Chinese territory stretching out beyond.
    By sunset the first night, they'd made good progress and took shelter in a crumbling fortification that, centuries ago, had accommodated the men who once stood guard on the Wall, perhaps watching for invaders from the north.
    There they contemplated the journey ahead of them -- a walk of 17 months and 8,850 kilometers (5,500 miles) that would test their endurance, but also take them into the record books as the first people ever to walk the length of the wall.
    It was a trip that would not only change the lives of the three friends but would change the fortunes of the wall itself, helping preserve it and elevate it to the revered status it holds today.

    First Great Wall expedition


    Dong Yao-hui has spent the last three decades protecting and promoting China's Great Wall.
    Harry Forbes

    "It was the first time ever for humans to go on an expedition of the entire Great Wall, leaving the first complete set of footprints," recalls Dong, now 62. "It was a nonstop uphill and downhill journey.
    "The heat from summer, the snow in winter and the exhausting hikes were all challenging but they weren't insurmountable. We just walked and walked and we made notes of what we saw. It was very repetitive like how a farmer tends to his farms.
    "Little did we know when we were on the journey that it would end up becoming a lifelong project."
    Back in May 1984, the Great Wall was famous beyond China as the structure that could -- so the legend goes -- be seen from space. At that time, however, more was perhaps known about the surface of the moon than the contours of the wall.
    Work on it began more than 2,500 years ago, its origins dating back to China's Spring and Autumn Period of around 770 BC to 476 BC. Various sections were added in subsequent eras as competing dynasties and factions sought to exert their control.
    Work eventually stopped in the 17th century. Today the wall reaches over 21,000 kilometers, winding its way through 15 provinces, 97 prefectures and 404 counties.
    And while certain parts had long attracted tourists, both from within and outside of China, such was its size that by the 1980s -- when the country was emerging from the turmoil of its 1949 communist takeover and the excesses of the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and '70s -- many sections had slipped into obscurity, disrepair and sometimes oblivion.


    Dong Yao-hui, Wu De-yu and Zhang Yuan-hua were the first men to walk the entire length of the Ming Dynasty Great Wall.
    courtesy Dong Yao-hui

    This is where Dong enters the story. At 25, he was working as a power cable technician -- and poet -- in his hometown of Qinhuangdao, close to the Shanhai Pass, where he would later start his odyssey.
    "I climbed power towers, often next to the Great Wall," he recalls. "Slowly, I developed an interest in the Great Wall. 'Who built it? When was it built? Why was it built?' I had all these questions but there weren't a lot of books you could read about it -- not even the government had such a record then."
    Soon Dong's interest formulated into a plan. And after two years of preparation, he and his two friends embarked on the epic trek that they thought would take them three years, but would in fact be completed in just 508 days.

    An unexpected lifelong project

    Dong, Wu and Zhang decided to focus only on the 8,851.8-kilometer Great Wall stretch that was restored and built during the Ming Dynasty -- around 600 years ago. It's the most well-preserved section and the part most commonly referred to when we talk about the Great Wall today.
    "Our hiking outfits were military uniforms provided by troops stationed at each area," recalls Dong. "Our rucksacks were donated by China's Mountaineering Association -- which were used during their expedition to Mount Everest. We were considered well equipped in the olden days."
    Instead of referencing a map, they simply followed the wall and recorded their own path on paper as well as their observations on the wall's condition. At night, they usually slept inside the wall's gates and fortresses, which were physically separated from the main structure, so they could document them too.
    “Just think how tiring it was for us to walk the Great Wall... But today we keep taking it apart, so is society more civilized now? Or more idiotic? ”
    Dong Yao-hui
    "Little did we know when we were on the journey that it would end up becoming a lifelong project," says Dong.
    On completing their journey, the expedition team spent the following two years consolidating and publishing their experiences in a book titled "Ming Dynasty Great Wall Expedition."
    But what they initially thought would be the end of their obsession with the Great Wall would transpire to be just the beginning as the repercussions of their journey rippled much further than expected.


    Prior to their expedition, Dong couldn't find much documentation about the Great Wall.
    courtesy Dong Yao-hui

    "We had another plan originally to trek along China's 18,000-kilometer seashore," says Dong. "But our affair with the Great Wall was unstoppable once ignited.
    "The further I went, the more it became a responsibility to society rather than just a self-fulfilling project."
    As they shared tales of their adventures, it became clear to the trio that it was not just the physical demands that left lasting impressions, but also the emotional impact of seeing how much of the wall had fallen into ruin.
    So much so that they alerted authorities.
    "When we told the ruling officials they said, 'Right. Right. Right,'" Dong says. "But actually no one took it seriously, so we felt pain.
    "Just think how tiring it was for us to walk the Great Wall, let alone how it must have been to build it. But today we keep taking it apart. So is society more civilized now? Or more idiotic?"
    Today Dong comes across as a gentle, scholarly figure, one who has dedicated more than half his life to the study and preservation of the Great Wall, but contemplating its parlous condition revives the youthful indignation that propelled him on his original quest.
    "Yes, I admit I can be reckless and emotional when talking about the damage sometimes," he says. "It'd be better if I could deliver my message in a more rational and gentle way.
    continued next post
    Gene Ching
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  4. #19
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    Continued from previous post


    After trekking 508 days, the trio arrived at Jiayu Pass in 1985.
    courtesy Dong Yao-hui

    "But I can't control it. I'm so upset -- it's a pain that comes from the bottom of my heart."
    Dong's anguish isn't without justification, with the wall continuing to face threats. In 2014, the Great Wall Society, which Dong founded and is now vice president of, reported that only 8.2% of the structure was in good condition.
    Then, in 2016, sections of the wall came under scrutiny after it was discovered locals were smoothing over the ancient bricks with cement.
    Dong tries to put such stories in a positive light, saying the fact that these issues are even appearing in the news suggests there's been a change in attitude regarding the Great Wall.
    "In these 35 years, the effort to protect the Great Wall has changed [immensely]," he says.
    "Before the nation reformed, every village was destroying the Great Wall so it wasn't considered news. Today, the media fights to report on it and people condemn it. The overall awareness of Great Wall preservation has improved."


    Witnessing the damage being done to the Great Wall, Dong devoted his life preserving it.
    Harry Forbes

    Cable technician-turned-'Son of the Great Wall'

    Dong can, of course, take a lot of credit for this. These days he's known as the "Son of the Great Wall," with a reputation as its leading authority. When US Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton visited the wall, he was their designated expert guide.
    The respect conveyed on Dong is on display on another spring day earlier this year as CNN Travel joins him during a visit to the Jinshanling section of China's Great Wall, in Hebei province, about two and a half hours northeast of Beijing.
    Wearing a modest checkered shirt and a pair of dress pants, he is welcomed by a village of local officials and managers, before putting on a red hiking jacket to climb up the wall's stairs, his agile frame always a step ahead of the crowd.
    "Mr. Dong hasn't been here for a while now," one of the managers says with a broad grin, before updating the special visitor on the status and conservation works happening along this section of the wall.
    The bespectacled scholar quietly nods and occasionally whispers short inquiries.
    Related content


    A survey carried out in 2014 found that only 8.2% of the Great Wall is in good condition.
    Yong Xiong/CNN

    Work to preserve the Great Wall began in earnest in 1987 -- three years after Dong's hike -- when UNESCO inscribed it was a World Heritage Site. Since then, China has implemented a number of measures to protect the world-famous attraction.
    In 2006, for instance, the State Council issued the Regulation on the Protection of Great Wall to strengthen laws surrounding its preservation and regulate activities carried out on the structure.
    The Cultural Relics Administrative Department was given control over the overall protection of the Great Wall.
    Meanwhile, a new daily visitor cap of 65,000 has recently been implemented at the popular Badaling section of the Great Wall to improve the overall experience and prevent deterioration. A three-grade warning system will also be deployed to warn tourists about the size of the crowd on the wall -- all in real-time.
    Other measures include the demolition of a heavily commercialized tourist market at the foot of Badaling. It's to be replaced with a Great Wall-themed cultural square by 2022.
    In Beijing, China's first Great Wall Restoration Center will be established this year, showcasing the seemingly invisible but meticulous restoration works on the Jiankou section. Meanwhile, a new team of 463 local villagers has recently been hired to act as guardians of the Great Wall.


    China's Great Wall was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
    Yong Xiong/CNN

    Great Wall tourism: Turning the poorest into the wealthiest

    "Great Wall tourism gives the local community a tremendous push as it develops," says Dong.
    "Look at Mutianyu, a village at the foot of the Great Wall. It was once the poorest village in Huairou district. Some 30 years after it has tapped into Great Wall tourism, it's now the wealthiest village.
    "How did it go from the poorest to the wealthiest? It didn't steal and sell a single brick from the Great Wall -- what it sells is the culture of the Great Wall.
    "We must develop local economies so the local farmers can enjoy the benefits and fruits of Great Wall preservation. Then you don't even need to ask them to stop damaging the wall or stealing bricks -- they just wouldn't do it."
    Dong places his palm on the weathered wall, still contemplating it as he did 35 years younger. But today, he ruminates on a mission grander than his own journey.
    "Someone, once upon a time, dug up some earth, molded it into a brick," he says. "Someone else brought it all the way up the mountain and built a wall. Then many people guarded the wall for hundreds and thousands of years.
    "The Great Wall is definitely alive. It isn't just a cold, stone wall. When you put your palm on the wall, you're holding hands with countless of ancestors from over the years."
    I had an acquaintance who backpacked a chunk of the wall. That's too cool.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  5. #20
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    instant karma

    Men trying to steal ‘lucky’ bricks from Great Wall of China get trapped on mountain
    Pair aged 20 and 26 claimed they were using a plastic bag to collect litter
    Peter Stubley
    2 days ago


    Snow covers the Jiankou Great Wall in the northwestern part of Beijing's Houairou district ( Getty Images )

    Two men had to be rescued from a cliff edge after they tried to steal “lucky bricks” from the Great Wall of China.

    The pair, aged 20 and 26, called for help after getting lost on their way to a section the 13,000-mile-long structure north of Beijing.

    Rescuers found them shivering on a snow-covered mountain four hours later, according to local media reports.

    The men initially claimed they were carrying a plastic bag to pick up litter in the area.

    However police discovered they had boasted in a local restaurant about stealing some of the bricks.

    Police freed the men after warning them that taking the bricks was both illegal and dangerous.

    The wall dates from 220 BC, when China joined existing walls and fortifications to defend against invasions from northern tribes.

    China has passed legislation to protect the UNESCO World Heritage Site after large sections of it were bulldozed, pillaged for building materials or heavily restored.
    I hope there were penalized. Desecretion of a World Heritage Site should be punished.
    Gene Ching
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  6. #21
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    wild


    China clamps down on climbing 'wild Great Wall'

    9 hours ago


    The Great Wall stretches for thousands of kilometres, and many parts are restored
    As China's busiest holiday season approaches, Beijing has warned that it will punish those who climb the "wild Great Wall".

    The term is often used to describe parts of the famous landmark that are not restored and closed to tourists.

    Fines will be enforced more strictly over Golden Week, with thousands of domestic tourists expected to visit.

    China is banking on the holiday to boost its badly hit tourism industry.

    "This year's National Day holiday lasts eight days and the number of visitors to explore the 'wild Great Wall' is bound to increase," Yu Hankuan, director of the Yanqing District Cultural Relics Administration told the Global Times.

    Beijing reminded the public that trespassers on these parts of the Great Wall could be fined between 200 and 30,000 yuan (£3,430; $4,404).

    It will also be stepping up security, with a Beijing Daily report saying that all 131 guards usually stationed along the Great Wall would be on duty over Golden Week.

    Authorities are also proactively scouring social media to see if any "wild Great Wall" expeditions are being organised.

    Mr Yu said that some sections of the Great Wall are very steep - and it is possible for tourists to get lost or fall off. Authorities also said climbing these parts can cause damage to the historic site.

    The parts of the Great Wall that are open to tourists are just a small section of the famous landmark, which stretches for thousands of kilometres.

    GETTY/COLLAGE
    The 'wild' parts of the Great Wall (L) and the restored parts (R)
    Other parts of the structure are left in their original state, though China had earlier announced that a restoration project was in the works.

    Hundreds of millions of Chinese people are expected to travel over Golden Week - fuelled by a pent-up demand after months of coronavirus restrictions.

    Typically, hundreds of thousands of Chinese tourists travel abroad over the eight-day holiday period - but this year, with travel restrictions in place, its likely that domestic tourism will soar.

    China appears to have largely stopped the spread of the virus, and most restrictions have been lifted.
    That virus...
    Gene Ching
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  7. #22
    Hopefully, it will open soon. Our plans to spend our holidays there were derailed by the virus.

  8. #23
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    biocrusts

    Biocrusts is the word of the day

    The Great Wall of China is being held together by 'biocrusts'
    News
    By Jennifer Nalewicki published December 08, 2023

    Ancient workers used a blend of organic materials such as mosses and lichen to build the architectural marvel and help protect it from erosion.


    A close-up image of "biocrusts" growing on the Great Wall of China. (Image credit: Bo Xiao)
    Large swaths of the Great Wall of China are held together thanks to "biocrusts," thin layers of organic materials that have helped protect the architectural marvel from erosion.

    Scientists made the discovery while analyzing segments of the Great Wall of China, which spans more than 13,000 miles (21,000 kilometers) and was built over the course of many centuries, beginning in 221 B.C., as a way to protect the country's empires from the outside world.

    During construction, ancient workers often used rammed earth, which included a mix of organic materials like soil and gravel that are compacted together, to build the massive wall. While these materials may be more susceptible to erosion than other materials, such as solid stones, they often help promote the growth of "biocrusts."

    This living stucco is made up of cyanobacteria (microorganisms that are capable of photosynthesis), mosses and lichens that help reinforce the construction, especially in arid and semi-arid parts of the country, according to a study published Friday (Dec. 8) in the journal Science Advances.

    "Ancient builders knew which materials could make the structure more stable," study co-author Bo Xiao, a professor of soil science in the College of Land Science and Technology at China Agricultural University in Beijing, told Live Science in an email.

    "To enhance the mechanical strength, the rammed earth of the wall was always constructed with clay, sand and other adhesive[s] like lime by the original builders," he said. These ingredients provide fertile ground for the organisms that build "biocrusts."


    Sections of the Great Wall of China are strengthened due to being built with organic materials. (Image credit: Bo Xiao)

    To test the strength and integrity of the Great Wall, researchers collected samples at eight different sections built between 1368 B.C. and 1644 B.C. during the Ming Dynasty. They found that 67% of the samples contained "biocrusts," which Xiao called "ecosystem engineers." Using portable mechanical instruments, both on site and back at the laboratory, they measured the samples' mechanical strength and soil stability and compared that data to wall segments containing only bare rammed earth, according to a statement.

    They found that the "biocrust" samples were sometimes three times stronger than the plain rammed earth samples. Samples containing moss were particularly hearty, according to the study.

    This is because the cyanobacteria and other life forms within the biocrust secreted substances, such as polymers, that would "tightly bind" together with the rammed earth particles, helping to "strengthen their structural stability" by creating what was essentially cement, Xiao said.

    "These cementitious substances, biological filaments and soil aggregates within the biocrust layer finally form a cohesive network with strong mechanical strength and stability against external erosion," Xiao said.


    Jennifer Nalewicki
    Live Science Staff Writer
    Jennifer Nalewicki is a Salt Lake City-based journalist whose work has been featured in The New York Times, Smithsonian Magazine, Scientific American, Popular Mechanics and more. She covers several science topics from planet Earth to paleontology and archaeology to health and culture. Prior to freelancing, Jennifer held an Editor role at Time Inc. Jennifer has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin.
    Gene Ching
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  9. #24
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    Commune by the Great Wall

    A hotel with one-of-a-kind access to the Great Wall of China
    By Lilit Marcus, CNN
    4 minute read
    Updated 9:24 PM EST, Sun December 17, 2023


    Every day, thousands of tourists from around the world plan their bucket-list trips to the Great Wall of China.

    Despite the wall’s 5,500-odd miles of terrain, stretching from east to west across the country, most travelers find themselves at either the Badaling or Mutianyu sections, the two areas closest to Beijing.

    These visitors rise early from their downtown hotels, cram themselves into vans and wait in multi-hour queues to see the magnificent structures that comprise the Great Wall, navigating around groups of camera-toting tourists in hopes of snapping their own Instagram-worthy shot.

    But what if there was another way?

    An hour-long drive north of the jam-packed capital is Commune by the Great Wall, a popular weekend getaway for Beijingers where a series of modernist buildings comprise a luxury hotel, with award-winning design amid yellow-leaved gingko trees.

    Beyond the usual amenities – an expansive breakfast buffet, cozy bed linens – Commune by the Great Wall provides a rare opportunity to simply walk to the Wall.

    Just 20 minutes by foot from the hotel reception is the Shuiguan section of the wall.

    Here, there are no long lines, no tour guides shouting into microphones and no sea of buses in the parking lot.

    Tucked amid the mountains, the views from the highest turrets of the wall are breathtaking – and, even more importantly, unobstructed.


    Shared House by Thai architect Kanika R'kul is one of the options for solo travelers.
    Courtesy Hyatt

    A hotel that’s its own destination

    It isn’t only the bucolic surroundings that lure travelers to the town of Yangqing.

    Commune by the Great Wall is an albergo diffuso, or diffused hotel, where guests stay in one of a collection of buildings rather than one central structure.

    This can be confusing to a taxi driver or first-time visitor, as they seem to have driven from the Chinese countryside directly into a luxury neighborhood development.

    However, there is one central building that serves as the reception area as well as being home to the hotel’s restaurants. Bellhops will drive guests from check-in to their accommodations in golf carts around the sprawling property.

    The hotel was the brainchild of husband-and-wife developers Pan Shiyi and Zhang Xin, who previously co-founded the Chinese real estate firm Soho. Originally intended to be a group of upscale country houses for Beijing’s elite, the project evolved into a hotel.

    Pan and Zhang hired a best-in-class crop of architects and designers to leave their mark in Yangqing. A dozen boldface names from around Asia were brought in to design one dwelling each: think of it as The Avengers, architecture edition.

    The couple urged architects to use local materials and to make the villas blend in with the environment as much as possible.


    Korea's Seung H-Sang designed the clubhouse, which is home to the swimming pool.
    Courtesy Hyatt

    Pritzker Prize winner Shigeru Ban designed “Furniture House,” where chairs and tables are integrated into the structure of the home, as his first ever project in China. The house was inspired by what Ban witnessed in his native Japan following an earthquake – often, heavy furniture survived intact while home foundations didn’t.

    Hong Konger Gary Chang created the “suitcase house” inspired by the micro-flats in his native city. Someone walks into the dwelling, which looks like a plain wooden cabin with no furniture, only to pull up sections of the floor a la opening a suitcase and discover bedrooms, a bathroom, and living spaces neatly packed underneath.

    And no less than Ai Weiwei – one of the most famous Chinese artists of his generation – served as the landscape designer.

    Commune by the Great Wall won a special commendation at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2002, the year the 12 core buildings were completed.

    Additional structures have been added in the years since. Kengo Kuma’s iconic bamboo house has been copied over, so guests now need to specify whether they’re sleeping in Bamboo House 1, 2 or 3.

    There are also communal buildings with single rooms for individual travelers who can’t afford to rent an entire villa.

    Guests can ask to see any unoccupied building, with an English-speaking concierge available to give on-the-spot architecture tours.

    Commune by the Great Wall became part of Hyatt’s Unbound Collection in 2021, so points loyalists have even more incentive to visit.

    In 2024, upgrade and renovation work will begin on the original 12 buildings.

    Some have simply suffered from the wear and tear of years’ worth of guests and their wheelie suitcases. Others experienced damage during the floods that ravaged the Beijing area in summer 2023 and are currently not habitable.

    Commune by the Great Wall, The Great Wall Exit No.53, Yangqing, China, 102102; +86 10 81181888
    Interesting...
    Gene Ching
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  10. #25
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    Kissing Beast

    Rare carving — dragon-shaped — discovered along Great Wall of China. See the beast
    BY IRENE WRIGHT JUNE 10, 2024 12:15 PM


    A rare carving was discovered at the site of a collapsed tower along the Great Wall of China, researchers said. William Olivieri via Unsplash

    As the longest ever built, the Great Wall of China dominates the landscape with towering pathways and guard posts lining the top of the mountain range. Its massive size would suggest researchers, archaeologists and historians would know a lot about each section of the wall, but the ancient construction still holds secrets. On May 30, researchers walking along a section of the wall lined by dense forests discovered a collapsed platform that would have been used by border soldiers to defend the wall, according to a June 4 news release from Beijing Daily, a government-controlled news outlet. The platform was left as it had been when it first collapsed, researchers said, so the team was hopeful there may be historical relics buried under the rubble. They began to dig layer by layer through the collapsed tower. Then, they noticed a carved scale on one of the stones. It was soon followed by a tail, claws and legs, according to the release. It was the carving of a dragon — and it’s rare.


    Beijing Daily

    The carving is called a “kissing beast,” and finding it in such well-preserved condition surprised the researchers. This beast in particular was larger than others found in the past, making it even more unique. Researchers said the carving was a decorative ornament that would sit along the ridge that ran on the top of the tower’s house at both ends, known as the “kiss.” The tower was once tall and magnificent, according to the release, but when it fell, it took the beast down with it, along with three other smaller roof figurines with open mouths. The kissing beast was dated to the Ming Dynasty, and the tower likely was used by a relatively low-ranking officer focused on defense of the wall, researchers said. The Ming Dynasty lasted from 1368 to 1644, during the end of when the Great Wall was maintained. Along with the decorative features, researchers also discovered a weapon and artillery used to defend the wall. Researchers said these elements, along with personal items like tools, door rings, spoons and shovels, show a glimpse into the lives of soldiers living along the border. Baidu Translate was used to translate the news release from Beijing Daily.

    Great-Wall-of-China
    aye-here-there-be-Dragons
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