Travel Guide

Great Wall in Inner Mongolia

Inner Mongolia boasts a concentration of the oldest sections of the Great Wall, with the total length over 15,000 kilometers. In addition to the Ming wall, walls built in the Warring States period and under the Qin, Han and Jurchen dynasties can also be seen here.

From the top of the Daqing Mountain north of Hohhot, capital of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, one can see an ancient wall slithering along the slopes of the Yinshan Mountains which cut through the region. It was the wall built by the state of Zhao in the warring States period, exactly around 300 B.C., after the state of Zhao occupied the whole region south of the Yinshan Mountains. The extant section of Zhao Great Wall was built of compressed earth and is hardly 2 meters high. It is one of the oldest relics of the Great Wall.

A well-preserved section of the Great Wall built under the Qin dynasty has been found in Guyang County south of Hohhot. With a history over 2,000 years, it extends to 90 kilometers, averages four to five meters in height, and is mostly built of rocks.

The Great Wall built under the Jurchen dynasty dates to the 12th or 13th century. It extends over 5,000 kilometers from Morin Dawa in the northeastern part of Inner Mongolia to the Yinshan Mountains on the west. The Jurchen people had a unique way of building the wall. They began by digging a ditch, which also served a military purpose, using the earth excavated to build a wall and erecting castles wherever necessary. Their defence system is historically known as "a series of frontier castles along a boundary ditch."

The Ming Great Wall, traveling along the border between today's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and Shanxi province, is called the Outer Great Wall relative to the Inner Great Wall in Shanxi. Being in the middle section of the entire Great Wall, Ming Great Wall in Inner Mongolia is almost 500 kilometers long. Mostly surrounded by towering peaks, many segments remain completely undamaged. There are stretches dotted by beacon towers or battle platforms at every 1.5 to 2.5 kilometers, standing silently as an indication of the frequency and intensity of warfare in bygone days.

Today, the clouds of war have long since disappeared while these ancient walls remain. The boundless grasslands, rolling deserts, clusters of sheep and neighing horses combine into an idyllic picture, a peaceful and serene environment in which the people of different ethnic groups are working for a better life.