Tag Archives: Jiayuguan

The Great Wall of China in Jiayuguan

I am in Jiayuguan (pronounced Jiaooguan and spoken very fast. Just one syllable) which is a not very nice place but does mark the extreme Western point of the Great Wall. I visited what is referred to as ‘ The Overlook’ today and I was the only person there. No guides, no market place, no cars in the huge parking lot. Maybe it has something to do with the National Holiday. Fireworks started going off very early and have continued throughout the day. Boom Bang Bang echoing off the high rise apartment blocks. I made an attempt at looking it up and all I can come up with is ‘Mooncake Day’. Sounds delightful doesn’t it.

The grumpy driver picked me up and we headed out of town past smoking chimneys, blast furnaces, mills and great big horrible cooling towers until we reached the country. We parked, outside the parking lot, and the driver indicated I should get out and walk….that way, pointing. OK, fine. Off I set, past a tranquil lake with a couple of fisherfolk until I reached the remains of a fort, with a ramp ascending. I ascended. And found myself on The Great Wall of China. That has to be life defining moment. I walked, up again, sigh. Ramps, stairs, nothing to clutch hold of for support, no rail. Here are some views:

Stretching away for thousands of miles.

Stretching away for thousands of miles.

Right into the sun, but quite awe inspiring none the less.

Right into the sun, but quite awe inspiring none the less.

The Gobi in the background and one of those strange Silk Road memorials in the foreground.

The Gobi in the background and one of those strange Silk Road memorials in the foreground.

Right into the sun. This could either be an interesting effect or just terrible.

Right into the sun. This could either be an interesting effect or just terrible.

More of same. Wall. Desert.

More of same. Wall. Desert.

Not sure if I could have walked up there.

Not sure if I could have walked up there.

The position of the sun was problematical.

The position of the sun was problematical.