The Simatai section of the Great Wall, not far from the Gubeikou section, is located at Gubeikou Town in the northeast of Miyun County in Beijing, 120 kilometers from the city center. It is well-known for its five characters of “steepness, compactness, queerness, wonderfulness, and comprehensiveness”.
The construction of Simatai started in the early Hongwu years (1368-1398) of the Ming Dynasty. Simatai Great Wall came into being under the famous general Qi Jiguang’s supervision and his original creation, during the Wanli period.
The Simatai Great Wall is 5.4 km long with all together 35 watchtowers. As the east section of the Gubeikou defense line, this magnificent section features great strategic significance. Built hundreds of years ago, the Simatai Great Wall still retains all its original appearance. It not only incorporates a variety of styles of other parts of the 10, 000-li-long wall, but also displays some unique characteristics.
In the valley, the Simatai Great Wall is separated into two parts by the Simatai Reservoir, over which a chain bridge runs through east to west. Like two huge golden dragons, the two parts of the Great Wall wind down from the east and west mountains into the reservoir, forming a wonderful reflection of the magnificent Great Wall in the clear blue water.
Deep in the valley, there’re two springs called Mandarin Duck Springs. The east one is cold, while the west is warm. The two springs join into one lake, half cold and the other half warm. Traveling with a small boat on the lake, scanning widely, we may find the mysterious charm of the Great Wall. Simatai Great Wall is quite different with other parts of Great Wall in its fantastic sight seeing and precipitous topography, with interleaving fight walls and defense walls, sky bridge of all sizes, and the wording bricks with both Yinwen and Yangwen, etc.
With an elevation of 986 meters, Watching Beijing Tower is regarded as the summit of Simatai section of Great Wall as well as the highest cultural relics in Beijing. Mounting the tower at night, one can see lights shimmering faintly in downtown Beijing. More interesting is that the bricks used to built the walls here even stamped with the date on which they were made and the code numbers of the armies that made them.
With a sculpture of twin lotus flowers above the arched doors, the Fairy Tower is the most beautiful of all towers and is known for its exquisite architecture. Legend goes that it was the dwelling place for an antelope reincarnated in the form of an angel who fell in love with a shepherd.
Leaning against a mountain slope with a 90-degree gradient, the Heavenly Ladder is the way to the Watching Beijing Tower and the Fairy Maiden Tower. Stretching upward along the abrupt mountain ridges, the narrowest part is just half a meter wide.
With a cabined width of mere 40 centimeter, Sky Bridge is really a 100-meter-long way, connecting the Fairy Tower to Watching Beijing Tower. Only brave man can pass through this bridge.
Simatai Great wall is exquisite in its details and is grand as a whole, which is the only part of ancient Great Walls with the original features of Ming Dynasty well reserved. It incorporates various characteristics of Ten-Thousand-Mile Great Wall and at the same time bears its unique features. Professor Luo Zhewen, the prestigious Great Wall expert, praised “Chinese Great Walls are the best all around the world, while Simatai deserves the best among all Chinese Great Walls.” Up to now, Simatai Great Wall has been listed by UNESCO into the World Cultural Heritages.