Like a writhing dragon’s tail, the Great Wall of China snakes its way across China’s northern border. As its name suggests, the Great Wall is an imposing architectural marvel, and it’s often hailed as one of the greatest man-made wonders of the world.
The Great Wall of China’s history stretches back more than 2,000 years, to a time before China was even a unified country.
But the Great Wall of China isn’t really a single great wall. “The first thing to note,” travel expert Stan Godwyn told Travel + Leisure, “is that it’s actually a series of walls and fortifications.”
Godwyn typically arranges for clients to visit one of four main sections — Badaling (the most well-known and accessible for travelers of varying mobility), Mutianyu (well-restored but much less crowded), Simatai (a crumbling, rugged stretch of wall), and Jinshanling (for serious hikers).
Despite its cultural and historic importance, it wasn’t until 1987 that the Great Wall of China was listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
Want to discover more Great Wall of China facts and bits of history? Read on for our definitive guide to this bucket list attraction and ancient marvel.