Sunday, May 1, 2016

Huanghuacheng Great Wall

Huanghuacheng (Yellow Flower City) Great Wall, 60 km north of Beijing, is the latest section to become popular with hikers. During summer, the countryside around Huanghuacheng Great Wall is swathed in yellow, as masses of wild flowers come into bloom.

It is almost 11 kilometers long and joins with Mutianyu Great Wall in the east, and JuyongguanPass and Badaling in the west. Huanghua cheng provides a challenge as it has no stone steps or no single smooth path like the ones found at Badaling and other sections of the Great Wall.

History of the Huanghuacheng Great Wall:

Early in the Yuan Dynasty, the area was dotted with prosperous villages, then during the Ming Dynasty, a town was established at the strategically important BenzhenguanPass.

Construction of Huanghua cheng Great Wall began in 1575, during the Ming Dynasty, under the supervision of General Cai Kai. It took the fastidious Cai many years to finish the project, but when he returned to the capital to report the completion of his task, he was promptly beheaded. Scheming ministers had told Emperor Wanli that the workmanship Cai oversaw was slipshod and lackadaisical. The emperor was so enraged by these scurrilous reports, he ordered Cai's immediate execution. It later occurred to the emperor that an investigation might be in order, so he sent a trusted aid to survey Cai’s wall. The aid reported back that Huanghuaheng Great Wall was solid, steep and exemplified the finest workmanship. Realizing he had been perhaps a little hasty in condemning Cai to death, Wanli ordered a tomb and memorial stele to be erected in honor of the loyal general.

He also had the characters "Jin Tang", meaning firm, stable, inscribed on the face of a huge rock below the wall, so there should be no further doubt, which explains why the wall is also known as Jintang Great Wall.

Sights of the Huanghuacheng Great Wall:

There is a lake and a reservoir nearby. The crescent shaped reservoir is called Huanghuacheng Reservoir, while the name of the lake is Jintang. The water of the lake is cold and clear, and it is fed by numerous springs. A sluice gate has been built on Jintang Lake, over which water flows in the summer.

Parts of Huanghua cheng Great Wall were destroyed and fell into Jintang Lake after being bombed during the Japanese invasion of China half a century ago.

The entire section of wall comprises of six forts, six passes, twelve beacon-towers, and thirty-two guard towers. Among them, Yaoziyu Fort is the best preserved. Covering an area of 7,000 square meters, it was built in 1592. There is a scholar tree standing in the castle courtyard that was planted in that same year.

The steepest section of Huanghuacheng Great Wall is known as Shibadeng, and requires special care when climbing, especially after rain.

Huanghuacheng Features

For the Huanghuacheng Great Wall, otherwise known as “The Lakeside Great Wall”, the most beautiful season to visit is in the autumn. The surrounding mountains are vibrantly colorful, the lake is deep and tranquil, and the ancient Great Wall stands majesticly against the clear blue sky. Rushing springs and jingling streams; birds flying as if in a choreographed dance; fish swimming around, the Great Wall meandering across the mountain, leaves scattering everywhere- this is the scene that will greet you upon your visit. Torch trees; chestnut trees; pines and cypress, the different colors of radiance and beauty that accentuate the scene makes it even more memorable. When you explore scenery such as this, enjoy the dark and romantic fall that nature gives to you. The mystery and grandiosity “The Lakeside Great Wall” gives to you, how fantastic it is!

There are three unique features of Huanghuacheng. In Chinese, it is called “yijue” (first talent), “erjue” (second talent), and “sanjue” (third talent).

“Yijue” is a part of the Great Wall that was built in 1404. It’s precipitous and grand and which twists up the mountains around Haoming Lake. This part of the Great Wall was not only the guarded north gate of old Beijing, but also became an important part of the Ming Tombs; in short, the essence of the Great Wall.

“Erjue” are the three sections of the Great Wall naturally separated by the lakes. It is a combination of spectacular mountain ranges, serene water bodies, and ancient Great Wall. It is the only Great Wall section accommodating both mountains and water in Beijing,

“Sanjue” is the Chestnut Park Habitat of the Ming dynasty, featuring old and different trees intertwined. It’s said that soldiers who guarded the city during the Ming dynasty spent more time cultivating the wild field than on defense. As a result of their work, the wild field transformed into a huge chestnut habitat, weather-beaten but deeply rooted. It’s a unique human-engineered landscape in Beijing's suburban area.

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