Enjoy the Great Wall without the crowds at the Huangyaguan Pass and hike all the way to the Badaling section and on to Shanhaiguan Pass. This section of the Great Wall that straddles a very steep area of the Dongshan Mountain in Ji county, about 28 km north of Tianjin city and about 130 km away from Beijing, is one of the oldest, most interesting and probably one of the steepest parts of the Great Wall. It extends northwards towards Hebei Province and connects to the main part of the Great Wall at Melanyu.
This 42 km section of the Great Wall was built in the 6th century AD during the Northern Qing Dynasty. Building on the treacherous rocky terrain with cliffs on both sides was a fantastic feat of engineering. During the Ming Dynasty the defenses along the immense structure were strengthened with the addition of several watch towers and the construction of a garrison town. In its heyday the Huangyaguan Pass was considered to be impregnable and it formed an important part of the country’s overall defense system. The most recent rehabilitation of this section of the wall took place from 1984 to 1987 when over 3 km of the structure was reconstructed along with 20 terraces, the adjacent Bagua city and castle, several watch towers and the Huangya entrance among others. Several new features such as a museum, a stele forest and a bridge to access the city were added. This is the most extensive restoration that has been undertaken on any part of the Great Wall and is the longest length to have been repaired. Therefore some sections of the wall are new while other sections retain some of their original Ming Dynasty features including rough stone pathways. However it presents a rare opportunity for visitors to experience the history of the area.
Visitors to Huangyaguan Pass will find it a bit of a tough climb as some sections are really steep. The autumn months of September and October are said to be the best time to visit Huangyaguan Pass. Whatever the month the view of the countryside from the top of the wall is beautiful throughout the year as the area presents a changing panorama with the seasons.
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