The Great Wall of China twists through deserts and plains, over mountains and plateaus like a Chinese dragon. The structure’s length is estimated at 8,852 kilometres. Not all parts of the Great Wall have been preserved in good condition and thousands of years of history have obviously left their mark. Beijing is a great starting point for a visit to both the restored and the more authentic segments of the Great Wall.
The most westerly point of the Great Wall is located near Jiayuguan, at the heart of the Gobi desert, and it ends in the East China Sea some 2,300 kilometres further. In fact, there’s not just one but several Great Walls. The first segments were built in the 7th century BC, and the Great Wall was extended by various Chinese dynasties; both as a defence against invasions from the north and to strengthen the prestige of the emperors.