The above photo is of the Juyongguan section of the Great Wall. Located approximately 60 kilometers from Beijing, the Juyong Pass section, which was first built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), played a vital role in the city’s defenses.
If you find yourself in Beijing, then a visit to the Great Wall is a must. I would also recommend wearing comfortable clothing, as the climb can be quite strenuous. (My guide, however, climbed to the top while wearing fashionable sandals – not quite the best shoes for the 1,700 uneven, slippery steps to the top of the mountain, but whatever). If you have a choice between the Badaling and Juyongguan section, you might want to choose the Juyongguan section, as there are typically less tourists there than Badaling.
The Great Wall is far older than the Ming Dynasty, and can trace its origins to 221 BC, during the Qin Dynasty. The Great Wall was originally built out of rammed earth, wood, stone, but upon the ascension of the Ming Dynasty, stronger materials such as brick, tiles, lime, and stone were used when constructing the wall. This particular section, along with Badaling, has been renovated extensively. The majority of the wall is actually in disrepair due to erosion, vandalism, removal of portions of the wall for city/town development, and the use of wall materials for construction.