Interesting Myths about the Great Wall of China

Interesting Myths about the Great Wall of China


Even though people celebrate the Great Wall as a magnificent national heritage, within the walls lie mixed tales of pain, anguish, bloodshed, triumph and regret. These tales, are in the form of myths and legends explaining how some of the prominent features of the wall came to be. Some are familiar stories, while others assert the contribution of a supernatural hand in the construction of the Great Wall of China. Though these legends are numerous, all serve to keep the Chinese Culture and history alive. The following are a few of the interesting myths about the Great Wall of China.

Myth of the Meng Jiangnu

The legend holds that during the Qin Dynasty, the federal officials arrested a peasant by the name of Fan Qiliang, the husband of Meng Jiangnu, and forcefully sent him to build the wall. After many days of unsuccessfully trying to locate her husband, Meng Jiangnu finally reached the Great Wall. Unfortunately, by the time she got to where her husband worked, she discovered that he was no more. The demise of Fan Qiliang distressed her greatly, and she wept bitterly. Her wailing was so loud that it caused some parts of the great Wall to collapse.

The Jiayuguan Pass

The tale is about a proficient arithmetician during the Ming Dynasty, called Yi Kaizhan. Yi Kaizhan was so gifted that he projected it would require 99,999 bricks to construct the Jiayuguan Pass. The supervisor at that time, perhaps driven by envy of the mathematician’s talent, did not only doubt him but threatened to punish all the workers with three years of hard labor in case Yi Kaizhan’s calculation was wrong even if by one brick. Surprisingly, to the delight of the supervisor, one stone remained behind the Xiwong City Gate after the completion of the project. Just as the supervisor was about to make good his threat, Yi Kaizhan proclaimed that a supernatural being placed the brick there to prevent the wall from collapsing. To date, the brick is still on the Jiayuguan Pass tower.

Metal Soup Great Wall

This myth is about the construction of the Huanghuacheng Great Wall located sixty kilometers north of downtown Beijing. During the Ming Dynasty, the emperor ordered General Cai Kai to oversee the building of the Wall. The wall took many years to finish, and immediately after completion, General Cai Kai, went to the capital to update the emperor of the accomplishment. Ironically, Emperor Wanli instantly put him to death. Apparently, the emperor’s ministers had misled the emperor into believing the general had wasted money and done a shoddy work. Later on, however, the Emperor discovered he was lied to as the Huanghuaheng Great Wall was not only solid but the best workmanship his eyes had ever seen. Remorsefully, he ordered the building of a tomb and memorial in honor of the General. The Emperor also wrote the words “Jin Tang”(Metal Soup) on a huge rock below the wall, to indicate the wall was solid and firm.

The Happy Meeting Fortress

There is an interesting tale of how the Happy Meeting or the Xifeng Kou Fortress came to be. During the wall construction times, soldiers had to stay on guard throughout the year without leaving their duty. Being distant from family members obviously was distressing. A father whose son, the only surviving family member, was guarding the wall couldn’t stand being apart from his son. So he set on a journey to locate his son who was defending the Northern Territory of the wall. He managed to find his child, and they embraced happily. In their mixed emotion of laughter, joy, grief, and relief, they both collapsed and died on the spot. Those who witnessed the ordeal were not only shocked but surprised. In memory of the loving father and his son, they named fortress where the two met Xifeng Kou, and their burial place, the Xifeng Kou Pass.

The Ten Brothers

This myth holds that there were ten brothers each gifted differently. The eldest could hear voices from long distances while the second one could see an object from as far as 500km away. The third son was as strong as a bull, and the fourth had a head as hard as steel. The fifth brother’s body was steel-hard, and the sixth had very long legs. The seventh had a gigantic head, while the eighth had incredibly large feet. The ninth and the youngest brothers had a large mouth and enormous eyes respectively.

Now, one day as the brothers were working on their farm, the eldest brother heard cries. Upon looking, the second brother observed the calls for help were coming from hunger-stricken Great Wall Builders. Angry about the situation, the third brother went to help the workers, but the officials chopped off his head. Annoyed, the fifth brother dashed to aid his brother, but the officials decided to drown him in the sea. Fortunately for him, the sixth brother had long legs and was able to save him from drowning. In the process, the sixth brother caught about 30kg of fish, which the seventh brother scooped with his big hat. The ninth brother swallowed all the fish in one bite causing the youngest brother to cry. Since he had big eyes, his tears resulted in the flooding and ruining of some sections of the Great Wall. It explains why sections of the Huanghuacheng Great Wall is partially under water.

Whether these myths are just stories or they took place for real is hard to tell. But they make visiting the Great Wall a magical experience.

The Great Wall of China for kids

The Great Wall of China for kids


Most parents avoid visiting the Great Wall, especially when traveling with their young ones because they presume it is only suitable for grownups and inappropriate for kids. Their concern arises from the fact that some sections of the wall are unrestored, slippery, crowded and exhausting. While their worries are understandable, still, there are sections of the Great Wall suitable for kids. These sections of the wall offer various fun packed activities guaranteed to thrill your youngsters. The following are some of the fun activities you and children can enjoy.

a. Chairlift and Cable car rides

If you are worried the steep steps will make your kids exhausted, there are sections of the wall such as the Badaling Wall that conveniently have well-maintained cable cars. It will be fun for the youngsters to sit back, and enjoy the magnificent view of the Wall as they ascend the Wall.

b. Exploring the wall

Kids are curious by nature, and they naturally enjoy exploring stuff. Visiting the Great Wall presents an ideal setting for your children to soothe their curiosity. They will learn about the history of the Wall, as well as the interesting facts and myths about it. Furthermore, your kids will have uninterrupted fun exploring the watchtowers, and forts, while stirring their imaginations into reliving the ancient Great Wall history. Just select a section that is safe and well restored.

The Great Wall of China for kids

c. Breathtaking Photoshoots

The Great Wall has magical landscapes and mythical backdrops for taking photos. Your kids will cherish the opportunity to take pictures in such a setting. Furthermore, the pictures would make an excellent addition to the family album photos.

d. The Great Wall Toboggan Ride

If there is a feature that kids find captivating it is the Toboggan ride. You could identify one of the less challenging sections of the Wall and have fun exploring with your family. When you are through with your tour, just hop in the Toboggan and enjoy the exhilarating ride back to the bottom of the wall. It is one experience that your kids will cherish forever.

e. Museum, and Shops

The Wall has a Museum and many stalls where vendors sell souvenirs. Your children will be grateful to shop around the stalls in search of relics and memorabilia. The prospect of getting a personalized gift with a Great Wall theme is motivation enough to get your youngsters impatient for the trip.

f. Exotic cuisine

Beijing has a reputation for having one of the best cuisines in the world. The Great Wall sections like the Mutianyu has several hotels and restaurants that serve delicious meals as well as creepy crawlies. Both you and the kids will have a thrill daring each other to swallow the unusual foods like spiders, scorpions, and snails. Moreover, if your children fancy tamer meal options, they will find the Chinese pancake a pleasant treat.


How to maximize your Great Wall visit when touring with Kids

If you intend to travel with children, make sure to schedule your visit when the scenic attractions are less crowded. The ideal time is in Spring and Fall when the weather is neither too hot nor cold. Also, avoid going on the weekend or during major holidays so as to beat the crowds.

Next, you need to prep your kids well in readiness for the trip. Tell them interesting stories about the wall, so as to arouse their interest and curiosity in anticipation for the tour. You could, for instance, narrate the history and the fascinating myths of the wall.

Since the visit of the wall involves spending a considerable amount of time outdoors, make sure you prepare well for the experience. Carry along an adequate supply of water for the family members to stay hydrated, and hats or waterproofs to offer protection from harsh weather conditions. As a precaution make sure you have a carrier just in case one of your offspring gets overwhelmed and needs carrying.

Last but not least, enlist the services of reputable city tour guides, who are conversant with the different sections of the Great Wall. Not only will they advise you on the safe areas to visit, but they will suggest attractions where your kids will enjoy their visit the most.


Why The Great Wall of China Was Built and Who Built It

Why The Great Wall of China Was Built and Who Built It


The Great Wall impressively stretches over 13000 miles, making it the longest man-made structure. Although many people believe the construction of the Great Wall took place during the Qin Dynasty, under the reign of Emperor Qin, the building of the wall began way in 770 BC during the (Pre-) Warring States Period. From that period to date, different sections of the wall have been constructed by various dynasties, using different materials for diverse reasons. Some of these reasons include warding off the invasion from the Turkic, Mongol, and Xiongnu nomadic tribes, to protect the northern border, as well as to unify the three northern states of Zhao, Yan and Qin.

Evolution of the Great Wall

The current Great Wall was not built all at once but rather in stages, dating back to the seventh century. In all these phases, the walls have been constructed by various dynasties for diverse reasons. These dynasties are;

a. The Pre-Warring States Period (Between 770 and 221 BC)

b. The Qin Dynasty (From 221 to 207 BC)

c. The Han Dynasty (Between 206BC and 220AD)

d. The Ming Dynasty (From 1368 to 1644)

a. The Pre-Warring States Period (Between 770 and 221 BC)

In the seventh and eighth century BC, during the ��Spring and Autumn’ Period, before China became unified, there existed the seven kingdoms of Chu, Qi, Yan, Zhao, Han, Qin and Wei states. These warring states often rose up in arms against each other. Tired of these constant battles, and the need to protect their territories from raids, the princes and overlords decided to build walls and high mountain watchtowers along their borders. The Qi state under the rule of Duke Huan, a Qi overlord, and the Chu State was the first to build the walls. Eventually, princes and overlords from the other states followed suit and built their protection walls.

b. The Qin Dynasty (between 221 to 207 BC)

In 221 BC during the Qin Dynasty, Emperor Qinshihuang famed for his Terracotta Army, captured and merged the other six Kingdoms to form the first unified country of China. He also became the first ever feudal emperor of the Qin dynasty. In his bid to unify these states, Qinshihuang destroyed all the walls separating the small kingdoms. He also ordered the expansion and linking of the northern walls constructed by the Zhao, Qi, and Yan. The emperor’s efforts resulted in the formation of the 5000-kilometer Wan-li Chang Cheng also known as the ��Ten Thousand-Li Great Wall.

c. The Han Dynasty (Between 206BC and 220AD)

Even though the Wan-li Chang Cheng Great Wall construction was during the Qin dynasty, the wall did not experience significant transformation until during the Han dynasty. In 202BC, Emperor Han Gaozu ordered the strengthening of the wall to deter China’s enemies from the north. Later on, between 141 to 87BC, Emperor Han Wudi sanctioned the opening of the Silk Road to facilitate the safe exportation of silk to the Western countries. It, therefore, required the extension of the Wan-li Chang Cheng Wall to the Yumen and Dunhuang pass to guard off the Huns and safeguard the Silk Road. Some remnants of this wall still exist today in the Xinjiang province in northwest China.

d. The Ming Dynasty (From 1368 to 1644)

The construction of a large section of the current Great Wall took place during the Ming dynasty under the reign of Zhuyuanzhang. He was the founder and the first ever emperor of the Ming dynasty. Despite Zhuyuanzhang leading a successful rebellion that overthrew the Yuan Dynasty, remnant forces and the Nuzhen ethnic tribe launched frequent attacks on the Ming Court. Emperor Zhuyuanzhang, therefore, focused much resources and time in the construction of the Great Wall to reinforce the defense of the city. Famous sections like the Simatai, Badaling, Jinshanling, and Mutianyu, were constructed during the Ming Dynasty, notably with the help of General Qi Jiguang between 1528 to 1588.

After the Ming Dynasty, the construction works on the Great Wall came to a halt since the emperors of the Qing Dynasty were keen on fostering harmonious relations with its neighbors. In fact, they forbade the building of the wall and instead of expending resources on the defensive project, they chose to make amends with their Tibetian and Mongolian neighbors.

Modern Times

No significant development took place on the Great Wall from the reign of the Qing Dynasty until recently in 1957 when the reconstruction of the Badaling Great Wall began. From then to date several sections have undergone restoration and maintenance to protect this magnificent great wonder of the world.

Why The Great Wall of China Was Built and Who Built It

When is the Best Time to Visit the Great Wall


If you are intending to have the best of time on your holiday at Great Wall of China, planning ahead is what you need to do. Planning will involve you to determine which part of the wall you will visit and what season will be most favorable for you. Preferably most people like visiting the Great Wall when the weather is moderate,  but at the end of the day all that matters is an individual’s tastes and schedules. A reliable tour service provider will come in handy, helping you make the decision.

Some of the best seasons that you can visit the Great Wall are:  summer, spring and autumn when there are less visitors and beautiful panoramas. These seasons fall in the month of March to November, but as mentioned earlier your personal choice on when to visit the great wall is the key. Listed below are the experiences you will get to encounter on this site during the different seasons of the year.


In this region the summer season is experienced as from June to August. During this period,  visitors enjoy warm days and cool nights while visiting the Great Wall. This is also the best season for exploration and tourism lovers since all touring sites are usually open for plenty of visitors. You will also be able to view the copious green forest surrounding the Wall at its best.

Since it tends to rain between July and August it is advisable to carry outfits. Booking early in advance for this season will save you from experiencing increased prices on flights and accommodation. Note that during summer, visiting the Great Wallduring week days is more pleasant than visiting it during weekends.

Looking for a cheap, reliable car hire service? Check out our Great Wall car rental service page: Car hire to Great Wall from Beijing.


Here spring comes between March and May. What makes this season super exciting is the blooming of the apricot tree across the wall. During this season,  visitors will also experience plenty of warm days and affordable travelling and accommodation rates. It also results to increase of green trees and breathtaking sand storms. Actually this is a perfect season for touring the wall since it is moderately sunny, fresh and green.


This season comes between November and March. It is normally characterized by cold weather, ice fall and resilient winds. Though this could be a challenging weather, it becomes favorable during January to February where the visitors experience temperatures ranging from -5 -12 with violent winds from Siberia. The Chinese New year period also falls on late January to the beginning of February and as a result this Wall is usually flocked with Chinese tourists.

Winter lovers get to enjoy the incredible snowy mountains the as well the snow filled Great Wall. However, they ought to come ready for a harsh weather where the daylight hours are few. Due to these conditions visitors that come during this season should not forget to carry along outfits that will keep them warm as they tour the wall. Most visitors avoid this site during this time so it is definite that the touring rates are quite favorable during winter.


This is quite a comfortable season and the best time to visit the Great Wall. It is during this time that the wall experiences the fall foliage and you have the best temperatures to enjoy touring outdoor comfortably.

During fall you will experience a clear lovely sky, incredible mountains and plenty of juicy fruits like grapes, apricots and peaches. It is also the best season for visitors who love photography since they get the most serene weather for capturing beautiful photographs in the morning and during sunset.

the best time to visit the Great Wall

When is not the best time to visit the Great Wall

Public Holidays/Weekends: Most Chinese tourists like visiting the area during public holidays and weekends which makes it overly crowded. Some of these holidays include the May, spring and the National holiday. If you want to enjoy this scene to the fullest avoid visiting it during these holidays since there will be loads of congestion.

During mid-morning hours the place is usually crowded too so the best time to visit the wall is early hours of the morning and the late afternoon.

the best time to visit the Great Wall

Beforehand Plans

You don’t want to be clueless about the weather you will find once you visit this great wall. Regardless of all these season variations the Great Wall of China is a wonderful place to be anytime of the year since every season has an exciting scene that every visitor must enjoy.

Read More

Which part of the Great Wall is the best to visit

Mutianyu Great Wall travel guide

Where is the best location to stay in Beijing

How long should I stay in Beijing

How far is the Great Wall from Beijing airport?

airport to the Great Wall

If you’re flying into Beijing airport and have your sights set on visiting the Great Wall of China, continue reading to discover how far it is from the airport to the Great Wall.

How far is the Great Wall from Beijing airport?

It takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours to drive straight from Beijing Capital International Airport to the Great Wall, depending on which section of the wall, you’d like to visit. If you’re short of time, your best bet is to head to Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, which is located just 66km drive from the airport. Mutianyu has an amazing toboggan ride, which in itself is enough reason to have a visit. Alternatively, Huanghuacheng section of the Great Wall, is also located within an easy, short 77km drive. Whilst travel times are dependent on traffic, you should be able to reach either Jiankou section of the Great Wall or Jinshanling section of the Great wall within 2.5 hours of leaving Beijing Capital International Airport.

If you have a little more time up your sleeve and are planning on spending several days in Beijing, you may be interested in touring the Gubeikou section of the Great Wall, which is located 139km  from the airport.

Distance between Beijing Airport and the Great Wall

  1. Beijing airport (about 66 km) Mutianyu Great Wall, 1.5 hours by road;
  2. Beijing airport (about 68 km) Juyongguan Great Wall, 1.5 hours by road;
  3. Beijing airport (about 78 km) Badaling Great Wall, 2 hours by road;
  4. Beijing airport (about 90 km) Jiankou Great Wall, 2 hours by road;
  5. Beijing airport (about 77 km) Huanghuacheng Great Wall, 2 hours by road;
  6. Beijing airport (about 144 km) Jinshanling Great Wall, 2.5 hours by road;
  7. Beijing airport (about 139 km) Gubeikou Great Wall, 2.5 hours by road;
  8. Beijing airport (about 139 km) Simatai Great Wall, 2.5 hours by road.
how far from the airport to the Great Wall

How to get to the Great Wall:

If you’re traveling to the Great Wall, from Beijing Capital International Airport, you have a variety of options. As there are no direct tour buses/trains, from Beijing airport to the Great Wall, many travelers choose to rent a car and driver or take a taxi, to and from the Great Wall. However, if you’re on a budget you can reach the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, using public transportation.

You may be interested in catching the Airport Express Train to Dongzhimen, Exit E. It takes about 25 minutes, and the fare is RMB 25. Then, you may take bus line 916 Express to Huairou North Avenue (Huairou Beidajie) Station, and takes 80-90 minutes.  Then, transfer to bus line h23, h24, h35, or h36 to Mutianyu Roundabout. Afterwards, walk about 500 yards (450 meters) to the ticket office of the scenic area. Or, you may take a minivan to the scenic area from Huairou North Avenue at about RMB 50-60.

Alternatively, if you are a Mandarin speaker, you can probably engage a taxi for a flat fee (negotiated/non-metered)–for time and distance, around RMB800-1000 for the trip to Mutianyu Great Wall is plenty. Just ask the driver and he will bring you to the Mutianyu Great Wall and come back.

To find a taxi at the airport, follow the signs of the arrival to go downstairs and you will see all of the taxis standing in a line. Wait your turn in line. When your turn comes, the next available taxi will take you to your destination.

If you’re not confident about your ability to make the necessary transfers, to catch public transportation to the Great Wall from the airport, fear not, as pre-arranging a car and driver, from the airport, is highly recommended, as your time is valuable. So if you’re concerned about getting lost on a train or bus, there’s no need to worry.

how far the great wall from the airport

No matter which section of the Great Wall you choose to visit, whether you have a few hours in Beijing or a few days in Beijing, traveling to the Great Wall, is sure to be one of your highlights of your stay. If time isn’t a factor, it also may be worth looking into visiting multiple sections of the Great Wall. After all, who knows how long it will be, before you’ll have the opportunity to visit the Great Wall again and the Great Wall is only a 1.5-2.5 hour drive from Beijing Capital International Airport.