Scaling History: A Family Adventure on the Great Wall of China

Welcome to our family travel blog! Today, we’re embarking on an awe-inspiring journey to one of the world’s most iconic landmarks—the Great Wall of China. Join us as we explore this ancient wonder, uncover its rich history, and marvel at the incredible feats of engineering and human determination that created this monumental structure.

The Great Wall of China: A Glimpse into History

The Great Wall of China is a testament to the enduring spirit and ingenuity of the Chinese people. Stretching over 13,000 miles across northern China, this colossal fortification served various purposes throughout its history, including defense, trade, and border control.

Getting There

Our adventure begins in Beijing, where we set out for the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, a popular and well-preserved part of this architectural marvel. We recommend hiring a driver or taking a guided tour to reach the wall comfortably.

History Unveiled

As we ascended the stone steps, we couldn’t help but be in awe of the historical significance surrounding us. The Great Wall was not built in a single era but rather over centuries, with its earliest sections dating back over 2,000 years.

Key Historical Points:

  • Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC): The earliest wall-like fortifications were constructed during the reign of Qin Shi Huang, China’s first emperor.
  • Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD): The most well-known sections of the Great Wall were built or reconstructed during the Ming Dynasty. It was during this time that the wall took its familiar form, with massive stone and brick fortifications.
  • Cultural Exchange: The Great Wall also served as a trade route and a cultural bridge between China and neighboring regions, facilitating the exchange of goods and ideas.

Exploring the Great Wall

The Mutianyu section of the Great Wall offers a perfect balance of history and accessibility. As a family, we found it to be both kid-friendly and captivating.

Highlights at Mutianyu:

  • Tower Climbing: Climb the watchtowers for panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. These towers were crucial for communication and defense.
  • Scenic Chairlift or Toboggan Ride: For a unique experience, take the chairlift up and enjoy a thrilling toboggan ride down.

Understanding the Wall’s Purpose

Walking along the Great Wall, we couldn’t help but reflect on the immense effort and sacrifice that went into its construction. Its primary purpose was to protect China from invasions, but it also played a significant role in the country’s history and culture.

Practical Tips:

  • Sturdy Footwear: Wear comfortable and sturdy shoes for walking on uneven terrain.
  • Weather Considerations: Check the weather forecast and dress accordingly, as the wall can be windy and exposed.
  • Hydration and Snacks: Bring water and snacks to keep energized during your exploration.


Visiting the Great Wall of China was a humbling experience that allowed our family to connect with history in a tangible way. As we walked in the footsteps of ancient warriors and traders, we gained a profound appreciation for the enduring legacy of this incredible structure.

We hope that you and your family have the opportunity to embark on your own adventure to the Great Wall of China, unlocking the mysteries and marveling at the history etched into its stones. Until next time, happy travels!