I’m a fan of the HBO show
Game of Thrones.
The show is set in the medieval-looking kingdom of Westeros.
In the frozen north beyond Westeros, there are hordes of barbarians called “wildlings.”
To keep invading hordes out, ancient Westori built a giant wall spanning the country.
The concept is pretty fanciful.
Except it’s based on reality.
More than 2,000 years ago, a man named Qin Shi Huang conquered several neighbouring nations in what’s now known as Asia.
To protect his new empire from the aggressive Xiongnu in the north, Qin Shi Huang decided to connect several ancient fortresses into a single gigantic wall.
Sixteen centuries later, Qin Shi Huang’s wall still stood, having been rebuilt and buttressed over the years.
But the country he’d unified, now under new rulers was under siege. Again and again, huge masses of nomad warriors on horseback were riding down from the north and sacking cities.
The rulers of the land decided to re-build the Wall. They built 25,000 watch towers along it. They stretched its length to 13,000 miles.
These wall-builders were the Emperors of the Ming dynasty. There wall was what we now know of as the Great Wall of China.
I took a seat in the way back. Our first stop was the tombs of the Ming dynasty. Then the Great Wall
The guide said we were lucky there was so little traffic on the road. He said during holiday weekends, the trip can take hours as the highways turn into 'parking lots.'
The guide pointed out the windows to my left. He said the hill formation in the distance is called 'Crouching Tiger.'
Past the front gates, we saw this structure. Supposedly, when you burn something inside of it, it goes to heaven. 'Like 3D printing' says our guide.
He nabbed the throne from his teenage nephew. He's also famous for fighting Mongols and sending ships far overseas.
We climbed to the top. In ancient times, no one but royalty was allowed to come over those hills and approach this place.
We approached a gate. The Wall in the distance is the same wall. They built it zig zag to create the illusion of more walls in order to bum out potential invaders.
The Chinese aren't afraid to push and shove in crowds, but everyone was careful on the steep incline.
Back on the ground, I looked at the Wall for what could easily be the last time ever. Always a weird feeling.
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