Hebei - Chengde - Shijazhuang
Qinhuangdao is a seaside holiday resort, 270 kilometer to Beijing in the east and 210 kilometer from Tianjin. It's located in the northeast of Hebei Province, on the Bohai, an arm of the Yellow Sea. The Great Wall runs through the area. It is one of the coastal cities in China open to the outside world. It covers an area of 7,752 square kilometer. Its population is 2.61 million.
Qinhuangdao occupies a very favorable geographical position. It is an ice-free port that exports large quantities of coal, peanuts, and soybeans. Qinhuangdao is rich in natural resources such as agriculture, forestry, fishery and mineral resources. Its industrial complex is comprised of the industries of building materials, metallurgy, foodstuffs, textiles and chemicals. A special economic development city, Qinghuangdao has a large glass industry and a growing fishing industry. It's also the most important seaport of the inland areas such as Beijing, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia to go into the sea.
Qinhuangdao is a famous tourist city. Beidaihe, Shanhaiguan, Nandaihe and Changli Golden Coast, which have developed recently, are well known at home and abroad.
Beidaihe is a famous and scenic summer resort located at the southwest of Qinhuangdao Municipality. An alluring coastal village with a small-town ambience, it provides a welcome break from city life. Its charm lies mostly in the lively inhabitants, bustling night stalls and, of course, the seaside views. From long stretches of pebbled sand to small coves, it is easy for travelers to escape the masses.
The Beidaihe Beach Resort stretches 10 kilometer east to west from the Yinjiao Pavillion to the mouth of the Daihe. In Changli, southwest of Beidaihe, there are also plans to convert a local bathing beach into another resort. This naturally pristine beach, like the rest of the Beidaihe Beach Resort, will attract millions of visitors from all over the world each summer.
The environment around Beidaihe is also beautiful. Mt. Lianfeng, which backs onto the beach, has 2 peaks covered by abundant green pines and cypresses. Lush vegetation, strange caves, decorated pavilions, secluded paths and winding bridges cover the mountain and make it unique and appealing.
Looking down from Wanghaiting (Seaside Pavilion) at the top of the hill, one can see the misty sea in all its majesty and feel carefree and joyous. Moreover, Beidaihe is one of 9 famous sun-rise watching spots in China. The Yinjiao Pavilion, on the northwest beach of Beidaihe, is the best place to watch the sun rise. Another way to witness this beautiful morning event is out the window of one of the local trains.
At the eastern base of Mt. Lianfeng is a park called Lianhuashi (Lotus Stone), named after the several huge rocks standing upright in the shape of a lotus flower. The park also houses the quiet Guanyin Temple in the north, beautifully restored in 1979, and the splendid Zhujia Grave in the east.
Home to vendors, speed boats and school outings, the locals herald the Tiger Rocks as the central attraction of the middle beach. This rock formation is composed of several huge rocks protruding from the sea like crouching tigers. Standing on one of these rocks, one is fascinated by the beating waves beneath and the vast sea in the distance.
The Yinjiao Stone in the east is one of the most popular attractions of Beidaihe. It is a separate rock with the unique shape of an eagle perched upon it. Groups of wild doves once dwelled in the rock caves there, so it is also known as "Dove Nest". Yinjiao Pavilion is at the peak, where visitors can enjoy watching the powerfully energetic ocean.
Also known as "Old Dragon's Head", 4 kilometer south of Shanhaiguan, Laolongtou is the easternmost end of the Great Wall, which stretches 23 m into the sea like a dragon drinking water, hence its name. This part of the Great Wall was built in the 7th year of Wanli reign in the Ming dynasty (1579) and was mended in the 7th year of Kangxi reign in the Qing dynasty (1668). Emperors Kangxi and Qianlong of the Qing dynasty would stop here for a visit on their way to Fengtian (today Shenyang) to worship their ancestors, which makes the city even more worthy of its name. Standing at Laolongtou, facing the misty sea, visitors can easily picture Emperor Qin (221-207 BC), the first emperor of China, sending people into the sea here to find a drug that would give him immortality.
You can see the Great Wall as it zigzags over the rolling mountains like a giant dragon to the north. Looking to the south you can see the vast expanse of sea stretching far to merge with the sky. At this moment you feel as if you could embrace the whole world.
It consists of the Estuary Stone City, Jinglu Watchtower, Wangshou Watchtower, Nanhaikou Pass, Chenghai Tower, Ninghai City and Binhai City.
• The Estuary Stone City
The Stone City lying at the estuary was built by Qijiguang, a famous general of the Ming dynasty. It used to serve as a defense work to resist the aggression of Nuchen and Mongolia. The Stone City was based on natural reefs and constructed with huge rocks, which were rabbet and connected by cast iron chains. With battlements placed on walls the Stone City extends into the sea and is very grandiose.
• Jinglu Watchtower
Connecting with the Stone City in the north, Jinglu Watch tower, was built with granite bars and has a commanding height to block the sea. The straight-cut plane of the watchtower is an equilateral trapezium with a bottoms length of 11.7 meter and a top of 10.7 meter.
• Wangshou Watchtower
Wangshou Watchtower and Jinglu Watchtower echo each other at a distance to form defense fortifications that outflank the Old Dragon's Head Bay. As a close defense work, the protruding tower is 25 meterwide and 34 meter long, with parapet walls inside and a basement beneath that is over 20 meter long.
• Nanhaikou Pass
Nanhaikou Pass is the only pass of the Ming Great wall established on the seashore. With a height of 5.4 meter, this pass was supposed to be the commanding center of the Laolongtou Great Wall defense system.
• Chenghai Tower
Chenghai Tower, 20 meter away from Nanhaikou pass, was built after Nanhaikou Pass was deserted. It functioned as a defensive arrow tower and retired after the Qing dynasty.
• Ninghai City
Ninghai City is the city where Chenghai Tower locates. It is about 6.6 meter high and 500 meter long in circumference and has 2 gates, one in the west and another in the north. The city wall was built with bricks on a stone basement and was rammed with loess inside the walls. The city has now been rebuilt and is open to tourists.
Shanhaiguan is a small, sleepy town and port of the northern section of the Bohai gulf, holding the access between northeast China and north China. Shanhai Pass, 15 kilometer from the tourist city of Qinhuangdao, got its name from being situated between the Yanshan Mountains and the Bohai Sea.
Shanhaiguan Pass consists of a main castle, 2 supporting castles, one in the north and one in the south, and 2 semicircular protective walls in front of the main castle, the town of Weiyuan and the town of Ninghai. Today most of these structures are still well preserved, while others, such as the wall of Ninghai, the Calm Sea Tower built on the town wall and the Laolongtou Great Wall, where the Great Wall meets the sea, have been restored.
The brick wall of the pass, stuffed with earth, is 14 meter high, 7 meter wide and 4 kilometer in circumference. It is connected with the Great Wall which stretches onto the rolling Yanshan Mountains in the north and into the Bohai Sea in the south with parts and battlements that form a strong and powerful defense system.
On the east gate of the city wall stands a tower hung with a horizontal inscribed board reading: "The First Pass under the Heaven". The bold characters written in vigorous strokes make the pass look even more magnificent. The Gate Tower houses an exhibition of ancient military uniforms and weapons including a saber that weighs 83 kilos, the heaviest in the country. Once you ascend the tower and take a broad view afar, the serried battlements and the rising mist will take you back to the ancient battlefields of a thousand years ago.
Beyond the Shanhaiguan Pass, the Great Wall stretches eastward until it dips into the sea at a place called Laolongtou. Tourist attractions in the vicinity include the Jiaoshan Section which has the Great Wall meandering along the mountain ridges, Shanhaiguan Great Wall Museum which has some interesting pictures, relics and clothes depicting the life story of this snaking construction, and a temple dedicated to Meng Jiangnu, one of China's devoted heroines.
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