Here, the wall is crumbling, steep and raw. Overgrown with foliage, it almost hides those lucky few tourists prepared to make the long trek to walk the wall in its originality. No crowds, no hawkers, no tacky merchandise, just the splendour and wonder of the Great Wall in all its undisturbed glory.
The Chinese certainly had vision and determination. The Great Wall was built between 6th Century BC and the 16th Century and stretches over mountainous regions for more than 6,000 kilometres.
It was sheer intensive labour. Over the centuries it’s estimated 2.5 million Chinese died building it.
At Huanghuacheng, nearly three hours north of Beijing by local buses, children from the village at the base of the mountain play against the backdrop of the wild wall. Like the generations of children before them, and before them, for centuries.
In parts, the wall is so steep, one slip could prove fatal.
Here, unlike other parts of China, the isolation is staggering; rugged mountains, splendid views and on the wall, rarely another human in sight.
The inner court of the Forbidden City was sacrosanct, even some princes weren’t allowed access.
Besides the Emperor, the main occupants of the inner court were concubines and eunuchs. Although eunuchs were the most lowly of servants, due to their unrestricted access became very powerful. Their presence in the inner court came at a price. They had to be castrated.
One of the Emperors of ancient China had more than 20 concubines and legend has it that he died from overindulgence of them.
For more than 500 years, the Forbidden City was off limits to the public. Illegal entrance to it meant immediate death.
The Chengdu Panda Breeding Research Centre aims to help boost critically low numbers of Giant Pandas. Panda cubs play like children: full of energy, shenanigans, mischievous fun, and rough and tumble. At birth, they’re about one-thousandth of the size of an adult panda and almost bald. Their fur is all white.
Pandas have a systematic method of feeding. The panda strips the leaves along the length of a piece of bamboo, then places the leaves in his mouth. He strips another length and adds these to the ones already in his mouth. None fall out. The panda strips one more length and adds it to the other leaves in his mouth. He then holds all the leaves in his paw and puts them to his mouth; it’s only then that he starts chomping.
Each time he strips exactly three lengths before he starts eating.