An eastern terminus of the Great Wall overlooking North Korea.
The end of the Great Wall of China: Hushan Tiger Mountain
Hushan, or Tiger Mountain Great Wall (虎山长城 Hǔshān Chángchéng | 박작성 Bakjak Fortress) is the most eastern start point, or end of the Great Wall of China. It is located just 15km north of Dandong city in Liaoning province, China. It lies close to the Yalu river, and ends directly on the Chinese-North Korean border.
This section of the Great Wall of China is named after the mountain over which it stretches for approximately 1,200 meters; Hushan (lit. Tiger Mountain, 虎山). It has been open for tourists to visit since 1992. It was renovated a few years before opening to the public.
Why Was the Great Wall of China Built?
Like many great walls in history throughout the world, the Great Wall of China was built primarily for defence.
The Great Wall was built to keep enemies and invaders out, and also Chinese people in. It was especially built for defence against the Mongols, a tribal group who were regularly known to raid China.
This is particularly so for areas in the north of China.
The Hushan Great Wall was built in this strategic location to keep out the Mongols, as well as protect this northeastern border from Japanese or Korean attacks.
Hushan Great Wall History
There’s a whole load of history behind the Great Wall of China. Like, a lot.
But, being the eastern most point and the end of the Great Wall of China, the Hushan Great Wall section has some pretty interesting history.
The end of the Great Wall of China is often mistaken for the Laolongtou (Old Dragon’s Head) section. This section of the Great Wall was built in 1469 during the Ming Dynasty, and since then it has undergone a lot of wear and tear causing collapse and a lot of destruction to the Hushan Great Wall. This meant that the Laolongtou section was then seen as the most eastern part, and end of the Great Wall of China.
In 1989, however, a huge project excavated ruins to prove the existence of Hushan and declare it rightfully as the eastern-most point of the Great Wall of China.
In 1992, a huge restoration project began. A lot of money was invested to restore this part of the Great Wall of China and open it up to the public.
In 2000, the renovation was completed.
Sections of Hushan Great Wall of China
There are various watchtowers and things to see as you traverse to the end of the Great Wall of China. But here are a couple of things to make sure you don’t miss on your travels!
This is the entrance to the Dandong Great Wall scenic area, as well as one of the most famous landmarks of it. The Chinese writing here reads “Hushan Great Wall”.
The Gate Tower is made up of the main body and another two-level tower on top.
The main body of the Gate Tower stands at a height of 9.6 meters and width of 20.5 meters.
The second tower on top is an arrow tower made up of 2 storeys built in traditional Chinese style, embellished with blue tiles contrasting with the red pillars. The second tower is 14 meters high and 11 meters wide.
No. 8 Watchtower
There are various watchtowers as you walk along the Great Wall. No.08, however, is particularly interesting and one you shouldn’t pass by too quickly.
There are two levels to this watchtower.
The first storey is 7.7 meters long, 10 meters wide with 4 windows with a great view. From here, you can climb up a small staircase to the second storey. This is 7.5 meters long and 4 meters wide - so you do need to exercise caution when up there! This area was used as a shelter for soldiers on guard.
Dandong Great Wall History Museum
If you have some extra time and/or are a massive history nerd, pay a visit to the Hushan Great Wall Museum whilst you’re there.
This museum introduces the history of the Great Wall during different dynasties, as well as the function of it as a defence mechanism.
You can also find various artefacts, oil paintings, and sculptures from the Ming Dynasty that were discovered in the Hushan Great Wall area.
It costs 10 yuan to visit the Hushan Great Wall History Museum.
Can You Walk the Whole Great Wall of China?
In short, no.
Also, you can’t see it from space.
Firstly, the Great Wall is long. In fact, it’s the longest man-made structure in history, stretching over 21,196.18km (13,170.6956 miles).
Secondly, the Great Wall of China was built in sections over many years and different dynasties. Apart from being VERY long, it’s physically impossible to walk the entire length from the start to the end of the Great Wall of China simply because it’s broken into sections. Sometimes, the wall even doubles or triples up. So you’d have to go back and complete these sections too if you were really determined…
Apart from this, you may find other obstacles. Some areas of the Great Wall of China are not open to the public, and other sections are too dangerous to trek over.
* The Hushan section of the Great Wall of China in Dandong reaches a height of 146.3 meters. Dandong is located in the north east of China, so it get’s pretty cold. If you’re planning a trip to the Great Wall of China from Dandong, it is best to pack lots of warm clothing.
* You should avoid going in winter since there may be snow and ice. Spring is the best time to visit.
* If you’re wanting to visit the Great Wall of China, this is a great place to do it if you hate crowds. Many sections of the Great Wall are particularly popular in Beijing, but it’s often difficult to get your perfect snapshot without it being crowded with other people. The Great Wall of China in Dandong is much less frequently visited, but doesn’t mean it’s an less as… Great!
Location and Access
The Great Wall of China Dandong section is located just 15km from the centre of Dandong. You can get a taxi here.
It is suggested that you give yourself approximately four hours to visit the Hushan Great Wall of China section.
You can begin your walk from Gate Tower. From here, you will pass 12 watchtowers as you ascend. Take a stop at each and have an explore. Every watchtower is different and unique. After you have reached the mountain top there is a watchtower that you can enter and enjoy a great view of the Great Wall as it stretches over the land. From here, you can also rent a telescope for 10 yuan and look into North Korea over the other side.
After you have reached this point, you can turn back and descend the same way you came up. Alternatively, you can keep going and walk along the ancient plank road. Along this road, you can have a good look into North Korea at different villages and fields. The plank road is long, steep, and narrow. You should exercise caution when walking on it.
When you have descended, don’t miss out on visiting the One Step to Cross point. This is the closest you can get to North Korea, without taking a tour into the country. This is an official North Korea - China border crossing with armed military on guard. You should not attempt to cross or take photos of the military.
On your way, you may also want to visit the Great Wall of China Museum.