Simatai Great Wall

Lying in the Gubeikou Town northeast of Miyun County about 120 kilometers (75 miles) from Beijing, the Simatai Great Wall stretches about five kilometers (three miles) from the Wangjinglou Tower in the east and connects to the Jinshanling Great Wall in the west. It has 35 beacon towers. Constructed under the supervision of Qi Jiguang, a famous general in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), it is the only part that still has the original appearance of the Ming Dynasty.

The wall is celebrated for its steepness, queerness and intactness. The main tourist attractions include the Stairway to Heaven, the Fairy Tower, the Heaven Bridge and the Wangjing Tower.

The wall is divided into eastern and western parts by a lake, named the Mandarin Duck Lake, which is fed by two springs. One is warm, the other is cold. Even in winter, the surface of the lake will never ice up.

The eastern part of the Wall has 15 watchtowers and was constructed on the steep ridge of the mountain. It looks like a winding dragon jumping out of the lake. There tourists can appreciate the Stairway to Heaven, the Fairy Tower, the Heaven Bridge and the Wangjinglou Tower.

In order to reach the Fairy Tower, tourists must climb the 85 degree slope Stairway to Heaven which is about 100 meters (328 feet) long and allows only one person to pass. Legend has it that the Fairy Tower was transformed from an antelope and that once the Lotus Flower Fairy lived there, hence its name. On the tower, there are some marble arches carved with lotus patterns.

With a height of about 1,000 meters (3,281 feet) above sea level, the Wangjinglou Tower is built on the highest part of the wall. Between the Fairy Tower and the Wangjinglou is the Heaven Bridge, built across a deep abyss. Standing on the Wangjinglou Tower one can see the outline of Beijing City.

Compared with eastern part of the wall, the western part is smoother. One can enjoy the intact pack walls, crenels, and kylin, animal and flower embossments.

There is also a wide range of activities. Tourists can go boating, swimming or fishing in the Mandarin Duck Lake. Besides, to taste the local authentic "peasant food" is also a good pastime. Simatai Great Wall Mountain Villa in the scenic area is a traditional Chinese courtyard which offers good board and accommodation. Visitors can also go there to enjoy traditional Chinese musical instrument performance.

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