23 December 2005

Jiayuguan and the Great Wall

Of course you couldn't go to China without seeing the Great Wall. Most people who visit China see one of the sections of the Wall near Beijing. But the section I want to see is near Jiayuguan, the westernmost part of the Great Wall.

There are two interesting things here. First, the Jiayuguan Pass with two gates. Most people think of the Great Wall as one long wall strung out across China, but it's also gates in passes and crumbling sections. There's also the Overhanging Great Wall which provides at least as nice a site as any of the areas near Beijing.

But the Jiayuguan airport is only open from April to October. The nearest year-round airport is a 7-hour bus ride away. Since we're planning this trip with two little children, I'm not particularly interested in a 7-hour bus ride.

So we'll be seeing the Wall near Beijing. But I'll be thinking about Jiayuguan while we're there.


  1. A couple of corrections needed here :)

    Jiayuguan Airport is open all year round (has been for many years) and operates to Lanzhou (HU) and Xi'an and Shanghai (FM) during the winter. Noseven hour bus rides necessary.

    On the Overhanging Great Wall bein as 'nice as any around Beijing', I would humbly suggest otherwise (except perhaps for the fact that at Jiayuguan there are few people). The OHGW section has been unsympathetically restored to an idealised notion of what the wall looked like, and beautified for tourists. This is both unfortunate and was unnecessary. The OHGW is basically a theme-park restoration.

    Wonderful blog, by the way!

    - Mark

  2. Thanks Mike. I enjoyed your blog too. But haven't all the sections of the Great Wall suffered the same thing? At least all the sections I could reasonably take small children to? If there is a better place for us to visit the Great Wall, I'd love to hear about it.