Eastern Start of the Great Wall

October Break, Great Wall

October Break, Great Wall by Robert Maddock. Sourced via Flickr under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License.

Common perception is that the Great Wall of China is several hundred miles shorter than it actually is. Most people believe it starts near the, "First Pass Under Heaven," Shanhaiguan, at the Hebei - Liaoyang border and runs west to the, First and Greatest Pass Under Heaven," (天下第一雄关) Jiayuguan, in Gansu province. However, recent archeological studies have found the wall extended much further to the east into Liaoning province. It goes at least as far as the modern border and perhaps into North Korea.

Remains of the Great Wall of China were found just north east of Dandong on Wushan or tiger Mountain. To capitalize on the potential tourism, a short section of the wall was restored in a style similar to the Great Wall tourist sites near Beijing. There is some debate about the authenticity of this reconstruction though, as the Beijing section of the Great Wall was much more substantial than the Liaoning sections. Experts believe that much of the Liaoning (Liaodong) Great Wall was little more than earthwork ridges and ditches: little of which survives today. However, in mountainous sections of Liaoning, some remains of stone and brick wall can be found, though this is clearly of a smaller, narrower wall than that seen near Beijing.

Tourist today can visit the Wushan Great Wall. It is located about 15km northeast of Dandong city. The entrance to the Wushan park is directly adjacent to the border with North Korea. Only a narrow stream marks the border. It has been suggested that you could easily jump across the stream and back at this point, illegally entering the DPRK for a short time. However, the author would advise against this as theDPRK has been known to arrest and imprison people illegally entering the country.

From the entrance, the wall runs steeply up Wushan to a maximum altitude of 146.3 metres and down the other side of the mountain, where it abruptly stops. The restored section is just 1000 metres long. Beyond the  restoration, no further sighs of the wall can be see, as more recent construction has obliterated them. On the wall, there are several towers, reminiscent of other tourist 

This is the far eastern end of the Great  Wall of China. Long forgotten, it is only recently that this section of wall has be re-identified. A section of this wall, dating from the Ming dynasty, has been restored for tourists to visit. It starts right beside the border with North Korea and climbs over Wushan (Tiger Mountain) giving you wide vistas of the surrounding country side including views across the border into Korea. The wall continues down the other side of the mountain before coming to an end at another car park. The route can be reversed, starting at this end and walking towards North Korea.

Map showing location of Eastern Start of the Great Wall

Above: Location of Eastern Start of the Great Wall in Dandong, Liaoning, China