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Great Wall of China

 2017, 72"x60" oil paint on polyester canvas


Experience at the Great Wall

For my first visit to China in 2009, the taxi cost $80usd from the Beijing airport to Badaling Great Wall. During my last visit in 2019, that same taxi ride from the airport to the Great wall cost $1,000usd.  In 2009, everything appeared renovated and newly developed. Tourism was opening to the world. By 2019, tourism was a fine tuned machine on a professional level.

In 2011, China opened up the first helicopter tour of the Great Wall of China.  I signed up right away to experience the great wonder of the world from the air above.


T.J. Mueller (left), and tour guide extraordinaire Paul Tian(right) ready to take off on the Eurocopter helicopter  in 2011.

About the Great Wall

The Great Wall of is a series of fortifications that were built across the historical northern borders of ancient Chinese states and Imperial China as protection against various nomadic groups from the Eurasian Steppe. Several walls were built from as early as the 7th century BC, with selective stretches later joined together by Qin Shi Huang (220–206 BC), the first emperor of China. Little of the Qin wall remains. Later on, many successive dynasties built and maintained multiple stretches of border walls. The best-known sections of the wall were built by the Ming dynasty (1368–1644).

Apart from defense, other purposes of the Great Wall have included border controls, allowing the imposition of duties on goods transported along the Silk Road, regulation or encouragement of trade and the control of immigration and emigration. Furthermore, the defensive characteristics of the Great Wall were enhanced by the construction of watchtowers, troop barracks, garrison stations, signaling capabilities through the means of smoke or fire, and the fact that the path of the Great Wall also served as a transportation corridor.

The frontier walls built by different dynasties have multiple courses. Collectively, they stretch from Liaodong in the east to Lop Lake in the west, from the present-day Sino–Russian border in the north to Tao River (Taohe) in the south; along an arc that roughly delineates the edge of the Mongolian steppe. Today, the defensive system of the Great Wall is generally recognized as one of the most impressive architectural feats in history.

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