The Simatai Great Wall
The Simatai Great Wall is situated at Gubeikou Town, Miyun County, 120 km (75 mi) northeast of Beijing. It stretches 5.4 km from Wangjinglou (Tower for Viewing the Capital) in the east and connects Jinshanling Great Wall in the west. Originally built in the North Qi Dynasty (550-577), it was reconstructed by General Qi Jiguang in the reign of Emperor Wanli from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It still retains the original architecture feature of the Ming Dynasty. This section was restored again by Chinese government in 1987 and opened to the public in 1990. Simatai Great Wall was listed as World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 1987.
The Simatai Great Wall incorporates a variety of styles of other parts of the China Wall, but also display some unique features. This section of the wall is always describes as: perilous, dense, diverse, ingenuous and peculiar. Luo Zhewen, a pretigious Great Wall expert, praised “Great Wall of China is the best architecture all around the world, while Simatai section deserves the best among all China walls”. East and West section of Simatai Great Wall are divided by a lake, named the Mandarin Duck Lake, which is fed by two springs, one is warm, and the other is cold. Even in winter time the lake never ice up. Both sections are linked up by a suspension bridge.
The hills in the west are sloping gently with well-maintained towers, and the Wall is winding on the hills like a golden dragon with majestic vigor. The nice view could be enjoyed from east section, but the hiking on west part to Jinshanling is not opened.
The towers are densely dotted in the eastern section and covered the peaks thousand meters high. Major attractions in the east include the Tower for Viewing the Capital, Fairy (Angel’s) Tower, Stairway to the Heaven and Sky Bridge, due to safety concern, only the eastern watch towers 2 to 10 are opened to public presently.
Unfortunately these places are closed to public due to safety concerns. Tower for Viewing the Capital (Tower No. 15): at an elevation of 986 meters, it is regarded as the summit of the Simatai Great Wall. It is said that in a clear day one can see the lights of Beijing shimmering in the distance 120 km away. Fairy (Angel’s) Tower (Tower No. 14): With a sculpture of twin lotus flowers above the arched doors, it is considered by many to be the most beautiful of all towers and is known for its architecture. Legend goes that it was the dwelling place for an antelope reincarnated in the form of an angel who fell in love with a shepherd nearby. Stairway to the Heaven: Climbing the mountainside at a steep 85-degree gradient, the Stairway to the Heaven is the only way to the Tower for Viewing Capital and the Fairy Maiden Tower. Stretching upward along the abrupt mountain ridges, the narrowest part is just 30 centimeters wide. Sky Bridge: As little as 40 centimeters wide in places, this 100-meter long segment of the wall connects the Fairy Tower to the Tower for Viewing Capital. It is said that only brave man, or foolish man, can traverse the Sky Bridge.
You can walk up the wall by foot or by cable car. By walking way you will start hiking the wall from Tower No. 2 and straight up to Tower 10, which will take 2 to 2.5 hours. And do the hiking down about 1 to 1.5 hours.
Alternatively by cable car in 7 mins you will reach Tower 5 or 8, then continue the hiking to Tower 10, afterwards take the cable car down or by foot.