Visitable Great Wall of China locations - Photo Tour(s) :
This Satellite Image clearly depicts China (P.R.C.) and East Asia. Super-imposed is a very rough schematic depiction of the location and path of the Great Wall of China as it existed during the various of the succeeding Dynasties in China's Feudal History.
The first ever continuous Great Wall of China was constructed during the Qin Dynasty Era (221 BC - 207 BC), mythically reaching from China's west a "10.000 Li" all the way to the Korean Peninsula. Made a rammed earth, there is a lot of historical proof of the true existence of this continuous wall, although true historical proof remains sparse. What should be clear at the very least is that during the Qin Dynasty a massive and very long rammed earth wall was built at some distance north of the Qin Dynasty Capital Xianyang (near current day Xi'An in Shaanxi Province). As much as historians and archeologists can reconstruct it at this time, the Inner Layer of the Qin Dynasty Great Wall was constructed along the south rim of the ordos desert, much in the same place as where the current day remains of the last wall, that of the Ming Dynasty Era can be found. The only solid remains of this wall can be found in the extreme north of Shaanxi Province, where the roughness of the terrain and the harshness of the climate make exploring difficult. Threatened by the advance of the desert and various types of erosion, the ruins currently found are not expected to last through the coming decades. Other sections of this Qin Era rammed mud wall were retraced exactly due north of Yanchi (Wuzhong Prefecture, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region) at a small town named Beidachi (in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region). Ruins of walls of three seperate dynastic era's can be found in this vital strategic region. The Qin Dynasty wall however is best seen on infrared satellite images of the area.
A second layer or part of the Qin Dynasty Era Great Wall have been found and traced more to the north, protecting area's in the "upper bend" of the Yellow River (Huang He) that were colonized during the brutal rule of the Qin Emperor and were the most exposed to nomadic raids from the North. In order for the colonization to succeed and hold, walls were built north of Hohhot and Baotou, were ruins can still be visited today.
Additional sections of Qin Era Great Wall are found extending eastward from Hohhot, leading into Inner Mongolia and beyond in various parts of Manchuria and even in the far eastern tip of the current day Republic of Mongolia.
The Great Wall of the Qin Dynasty had mostly crumpled and returned to dust by the time of the succesful years of the Reign of Emperor Han Wudi (141 BC - 81 BC) of the Western Han Dynasty (221 BC - 9 AD). As goes reported in the historical annals preserved or refound from this period ..
Most of the Great Wall as constructed during the Han Dynasty (206 BC - 221 AD) consisted thus of Castles and Fortresses, some wall section and further an abundance of watchtowers and beacon towers crucial in the sending of messages and essential for a speedy military response from within.
It was only centuries later, almost a millenium that renewed hostile threats from the north called for the construction of a new Great Wall of China. Where it was largely neglected during the military expansionist highpoints of the Tang Dynasty (618 AD - 907 AD), during the split of China in southern Song Dynasty (960 AD - 1279 AD) and Northern Jin Dynasty (1115 AD - 1234 AD), the use of the defense walls became once more of crucial importance.
Although the Jin were nervertheless overrun by the growing military powers of the rising Mongol Empire founded by Genghis Khan, their sophisticated use of Walls, Military Fortresses and what the Jin called a "Green Wall" (earthen ramparts with pallisades, horse traps and spikes) did slow the Mongolians down for a long time. Eventually however, the Mongolians learned siege techniques from captured Chinese Prisoners and were able to overcome the walls and city defenses.