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More Ruins of Great Wall Come to Light
Snaking along the meandering mountains for thousands of kilometers from north China's Hebei Province to northwest China's Gansu Province, the Great Wall has remained a symbol of human ingenuity and Chinese civilization.

As highways and roads are built leading deep into the previously inaccessible mountains, people have discovered more ruins of the Great Wall.

For instance, the section of the ruined Great Wall in Tangshan in Hebei Province, about 200 kilometers to the northeast of Beijing, recently opened to visitors.

Linking the Shanhaiguan Pass to the east and the better-known Badaling section in Beijing, the wall stretches about 220 kilometers through Tangshan with 29 passes, 603 watch towers and 82 beacon towers, researchers have concluded after years of hard study.

The Xifengkou Gateway, located in Qianxi County in Tangshan, was an important stronghold in ancient times.

Today, part of this section is submerged in a reservoir built in the early 1970s. The structure looks just like a tired dragon drinking water, with his neck submerged in a lake and tail lifting up at the peak of the mountain.

The name Xifeng, which means “peak of happiness,” has developed from an earlier meaning "site for a happy reunion."

Legend has it that a young man yearned to see his father, who had gone to build the Great Wall. He traveled a long distance and finally found his father working there. Overjoyed after a separation which lasted many years, both father and son lived there for the rest of their lives.

The part of the Great Wall along the Jiufeng Mountain is unique in that it is only 70 centimeters wide at its narrowest point. In fact, it is the wall's narrowest section.

The section of the wall on the Jiufeng Mountain was a typical example of official corruption in ancient times, as local officials stole the building funds.

Ironically, the section built with limited materials has now become a tourist attraction for its unique features.

There is an old tale which has passed from generation to generation that a monk sacrificed himself by jumping over a cliff on the Jiufeng Mountain to become a Buddha. The Xiyun Temple on the peak, constructed in the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907), was built in memory of the monk.

Apart from the peak and ancient temple, the Jiufeng Mountain also features unusual trees, odd rocks and steep cliffs.

The Gate Tower of Qingshanguan Pass offers a sharp contrast to the slim wall on top of the Jiufeng Mountain. Grandiose in its appearance, it is 6 meters high and has 72 arches with a perimeter of 230 meters.

Nearby is the Marble Great Wall. Around 10 meters high, 5 meters wide and 1,500 meters in length, it was built from marble, which was rare in the history of the Great Wall's construction.

(China Daily December 9, 2002)

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