Day 19: Zhangye to Dunhuang

We left the hotel after breakfast at 8:30am. We plan to see two important tourist spots on the way to Dunhuang.

We travelled at a stretch for 240 kms. to reach the Overhanging Great Wall of China. This is a wonderful place. It is in Jiayuguan City in Gansu province. You can touch the Great wall here. It is located about 6.5 kms. to the northwest of JIaynguan Pass and about 11 kms. from Jiayuguan City. Overhanging Great Wall is an important part of the defence network of Jiayuguan (Jiayu Pass). It was built in 16th Century by Ming Dynasty to strengthen the defence capability of the Jiayuguan area. Viewed from a distance the Great Wall appears very like a dragon overhanging the slope, hence the name. From the top you can overlook the vast Gobi desert dotted with oasis in the distance.
From Overhanging Great Wall we moved to Fortress of Jiayuguan. This marks the end of the Ming Great Wall. This is the West End of the Ming dynasty Great Wall. Along with Juyong Pass and Shanhai Pass, it is one of the main Passes of the Great Wall. On the northern side of the wall is Mongolia and the attackers would come from Mongolia. This wall was made by Ming Dynasty to defend them from the attacks from Mongolia side.

There is a castle at the top of the wall. Castle is a building that is fortified and contains many defences. This being the west most end of the wall, the strong defence was placed here. There were stairs to climb the wall. The stairs were comfortable, though there were many steps (may be 80 to 100 steps). We climbed the steps just to get the feel of climbing the Great wall of China.

The Great wall of China is the collective name of a series of fortification systems generally built across the historical northern borders of China to protect and consolidate territories of Chinese states and empires against various nomadic groups. The total length of the Great wall is 21,196 kilometres.
The Great wall of China was built between 771 BC – 221 BC built by Qin Shi Huang to protect his newly founded Qin dynasty against incursions by nomads from Inner Asia. By 212 BC the wall ran from Gansu to the coast of southern Manchuria. The Han, Norther Qi, the Jurchen Jin and the Ming dynasties rebuilt and expanded the Wall. The Han extended the fortifications furthest to the west.

The Great wall of China visible today largely dates from the Ming dynasty as they rebuilt much of the wall in stone and brick. Some sections remain in relatively good condition or have been renovated, while other have been damaged or destroyed for ideological reasons or lost due to the ravages of time.

After spending more than 5 hours, we moved on to Dunhuang travelling about 300 kms. to reach hotel after 8 pm. The best part is that the day is very long here. The Day light is seen from 5:30 am to 8:30 pm. Tomorrow is a rest day. We all are very tied and looking forward to the rest day.  

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