Simatai Great Wall

Simatai Great  Wall built in the 6th century and rebuilt in the 16th century,  is connected to Jinshanling Great Wall. Heavenly Ladder hang precariously on an almost vertical mountain cliff. Simatai, located in the north of Miyun county, 120km northeast of Beijing, holds the access to Gubeikou, a strategic pass in the eastern part of the Great Wall. Originally built during the Northern Qi dynasty (550-577) and rebuilt in the Hongwu years of the Ming dynasty by Qi Jiguang, this section of Great Wall is the only part of the Great Wall which keeps the original features of the Ming dynasty Great Wall.

Simatai Great Wall is 5.4km long with 35 beacon towers. Ingeniously conceived and uniquely designed, this section of Great Wall, inimitable and diversified, has incorporated the different characteristics of each section of the Great Wall. No matter the famous specialist of Great Wall, Professor Luo Zhewen, says: "The Great Wall is the best of the Chinese buildings, and Simatai is the best of the Great Wall."

Hanging precariously onto the Yanshan Mountain, Simatai Great Wall is known for its steepness, ingenuity and unique.

Steepness : built on the precipitous mountains, there are many places that are unmatched among other sections of Great Wall. The Heavenly Ladder and the Sky Bridge are particularly dangerous that they could make everyone on them tremble with fear.

Ingenuity : compares with other sections of Great Wall, Simatai is densely dotted with beacon towers, in which the nearest two are only 43.8m apart and the farthest of 600m. While in other sections, beacon towers were built at intervals of 500m. In this section, the walls are in single, double and trapeziform forms and the watchtowers are round or oblate in shape and composed of two or three floors. Even the roofs of the tower are also diverse: some are flat, some cymbiform and some domical shapes.

A ruined watch tower on Simatai Great Wall Unique : built on the mountain ridge with limestone caves under it, this section of wall is imposing and unique among other sections. More interesting is that there are two springs called Mandarin Duck Springs at the foot of the Great Wall. The east one is cold, while the west warm. The two springs join into one lake. Then half of the lake is cold and the other half is warm. In winter, hot steam rise from the lake, forming a marvelous spectacle in this area.

Simatai Great Wall is separated into two parts by a valley, namely the east part and west part. The west part appears gentle with 20 well-preserved watchtowers dotting here and there. Comparing with the west part, the east part is somewhat steep and cliffy. 15 watchtowers densely scattered on the thousand-meter-high peaks, adding enchanting views to the wall. In this part, the main attractions include Watching Beijing Tower, Fairy Tower, Heavenly Ladder and Sky Bridge.

Watching Beijing Tower : with an elevation of 986 meters, it is regarded as the summit of Simatai section of Great Wall as well as the highest cultural relics in Beijing. Mounting the tower at night, one can see lights shimmering faintly in downtown Beijing. More interesting is that the bricks used to built the walls here even stamped with the date on which they were made and the code numbers of the armies that made them.

Fairy Tower : with a sculpture of twin lotus flowers above the arched doors, it is the most beautiful of all towers and is known for its exquisite 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.

Heavenly Ladder : leaning against a mountain slope with a 90-degree gradient, it is the way to the Watching Beijing Tower and the Fairy Maiden Tower. Stretching upward along the abrupt mountain ridges, the narrowest part is just half a meter wide.

Sky Bridge : with a cabined width of mere 40 centimeter, it is really a 100-meter-long way, connecting the Fairy Tower to Watching Beijing Tower. Only brave man can pass through this bridge.

Noted by the UNESCO as one of the World Cultural Heritages, Simatai Great Wall is the famous scenic spot for traveling, exploration and inspection. Now, this site is open to visitors at home and abroad.

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