Things to see and do - Beijing
Great Wall :
Nearby tourist sites
Great Wall : Michelin's recommendations
This winding, superhuman construction, which is said to be visible from the moon, runs for a length of 6 000km, punctuated along its route by 40 000 towers and small forts. It follows every contour of the land it traverses, but it is at Simatai, where it straddles vertiginous ridges touching the void, that it takes on its most extraordinary appearance. Although the idea behind the wall was first conceived five centuries before Christ as a way of containing the "barbarians", it was only put into practice in 220 BC by Qin Shi Huangdi, the first Chinese emperor. Construction never ceased, and it was the Ming who gave it its present day appearance at the end of the 15C.