China Report - Map of the Great Wall during the Ming Dynasty
Satellite image of China and North-East Asia, with a super-imposed schematic Map of the location and Path of the Great Wall as constructed during the Reign of the Ming Dynasty. Included for reference are City names, geographical features of landscape, Names and locations of Passes on the Great Wall of China.
China Report - Map of the Gobi Desert & Yellow River Flow
A Satellite Image Map of the Entire Gobi Desert Region. Map overviews North-West Xinjiang Autonomous Region, Mongolia, Inner Mongolia and North and North-Eastern China giving a Full Overview of the Gobi Deserts. Clearly visible details of geographical features such as mountain ranges, rivers, valleys and lakes.
Map includes country borders, name and location details of Cities and Villages (clearly visible).
Mouse over Image to Reveal more information and follow the flow and path of the yellow river from Xining in Qinghai Province to the Bohai Sea. Details of old / former Yellow River flow (south of new) and new trajectory to the Bohai Sea.
The section of the Great Wall of China near Zhongwei lies due North of Town, at quite a distance out in the sands of the Tengger Desert. Over the last decade it has been the least visited and least photographed and published on section of Wall of all. It is also among the most eroded and ruined parts of the Great Wall today.
In essence the remnants of the Great Wall near Zhongwei are but scattered remains, half buried by the shifting sands and expanding deserts. They are part of an ancient section known as the Western Great Wall in Ningxia, that runs over 250 kilometers inside Ningxia AR between Helan Pas in the North to the regions of Wuwei in Gansu Province (Jinyuan and County of Gansu Province).
Most parts of the Great Wall in Ningxia, including the Zhongwei Wall, were built with earth and stones offering much less protection than the strengthened brick and iron-reinforced Wall sections much further to the East encircling Beijing.
Due to the choice of materials these Wall sections are far less resistant against weather and erosion.
At considerable distance to the South stands yet another even more obscure section of the Great Wall known as Xiahe'Yan. The Xiaheyan section of the Great Wall run south of the Yellow River, and lead some 5 kilometers away from the Town in the south-western direction. It is part of a second Inner Layer of the Great Wall, built to weave along with the Bends of the Yellow River. The Xiaheyan section lies south of the Yellow River from where the Inner layer leads to Lanzhou in Gansu Province. Some sections of this Inner Wall lie North of the River, some south.
Interestingly, the Great Wall here had communities of people living in shelters underneath its ruins up to about 1990 AD. The dwellings are now abandoned, left as eerie ruins. The new Xinjiang-to-Shanghai Gas Pipeline intersects Xiaheyan great wall section just west of the town. During construction of the gas line, builders took no pre-cautions to protect the ancient Wall and simply rammed through it, leaving a huge gap and a national shame. Much discussed by Great Wall preservation fans and Chinese Historians, the gap remains and no actions have been taken to restore the Wall.
How to Get There: Travel to Xiaheyuan from Zhongwei Town either by Bus or Taxi, the latter costing about 70 to 80 yuan.
Apart from the (illusive) Great Wall the main scenic sights of small Zhongwei are the Gao Temple and the ancient Drum Tower. The Gao Temple used to be a unique Temple with a mix of Buddhist, Taoist and Confucianism deities. However, new restorations and works on the Temple have changed its appearance into a mainly Buddhist Temple. The architecture of Gao Temple alone makes it worth a visit. There are a 190 Towers with wooden bridges connecting them, creating a myriad of levels and crossings. A special treasure of Gao Miao are the Air Raid Shelters dug underneath the Temple during the Cultural Revolution Era and the near confrontation with Soviet Russia (similar to Beijing's "Underground City"). Today's air raid shelters have been converted into Temple catacombs in which one can dwell among the deities of Buddhist Hell.
Due West of Zhongwei lies the small town of Shapotou and its Desert Tourism Zone. Traditionally tourists and tour groups flock here to admire
one of the 5 most beautiful deserts in China, in this case where the sand dunes of the Gobi Desert meet the Yellow River loess valley, creating a sea of green along the desert edge. With the advent of Chinese Internal Tourism the mystery of the place has been lifted and throngs of people come down just to swim in the yellow river, enjoy the beach, ride the camels or take the spectacular yellow river crossing by cable-slide. No one cares for the nearby Great Wall remnants and many aren't aware they are near at all.
Exact directions from Zhongwei Town to the Great Wall are currently under research. A China Report photo- and mapping mission to Ningxia in August 2010 did not reach Zhongwei
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According to the Lonely Planet 2002 AD Edition on China, the road to the Great Wall near Xinxing outside Zhongwei is rough and adventurous with quite a few scenic sights. No specifics are mentioned.
Other sources mention the Zhongwei Great Wall is located near Xinxing Town of Zhongwei County at about 30 kilometers distance from Zhongwei City Center.
The Great Wall itself is said to be nothing much to look at, especially not since the nights January 23 and 24 of 2005 AD, the xinxing section was severely damaged when a road
construction company used heavy machinery to extract materials needed to pave a nearby road. Nearly 100 meters of visible and intact rammed earth Great Wall was been intentionally leveled. Although calls have gone out to have the company restore the wall section, no repairs have been reported at this Time.