The Great Wall is definitely the most overwhelming place I’ve ever visited. To be honset, before visiting, this was not very high up on my list of places to see. It was one of those places you know you want to see at some point, but you’re not quite ready to plan your next holiday around it. But during our ten day visit to Shanghai we thought that as we were not planning at trip to Mainland China any time soon, we might as well pop by Beijing to see The Great Wall and I’m so happy we did!
This UNESCO World Heritage site is in my opinion one of those places you just have to visit once in your life. The wall has some parts as old as from the 3rd century BC, however the parts easily accessible for visitors were built during the Ming Dynasty. We visited the wall at Mutianyu which is the longest fully-restored Great Wall section open to tourists. Standing on the wall it was obvious that it would have made all the difference in terms of border control and transportation of goods along the Silk Road and it was easy to imagine all the hours and manpower it have taken to construct the wall, this was an absolutely mind blowing experience!
During our short stop in Beijing we a also made time to see a few other compulsory Beijing sites like the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace and Tienanmen square. My absolute top advice before visiting Beijing is to read as much as you can about the history of the city and the sites as it will add so much to the experience. I guess this advice will apply for all places with as much culture and history as China.