(Chinese: 慕田峪; pinyin: Mùtiányù) is a section of the Great Wall of China located in Huairou County 70km northeast of Beijing. The Mutianyu section of the Great Wall is connected with Jiankou in the west and Lianhuachi in the east. As one of the best-preserved parts of the Great Wall, the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall used to serve as the northern barrier
First built in the mid-6th century during the Northern Qi, Mutianyu Great Wall is older than the Badaling section of the Great Wall. In the Ming dynasty, under the supervision of General Xu Da, construction of the present wall began on the foundation of the wall of Northern Qi. In 1404, a pass was built in the wall. In 1569, the Mutianyu Great Wall was rebuilt and till today most parts of it are well preserved. The Mutianyu Great Wall has the largest construction scale and best quality among all sections of Great Wall.
Built mainly with granite, the wall is 7-8 meters high and the top is 4-5 meters wide. Compared with other sections of Great Wall, Mutianyu Great Wall possesses unique characteristics in its construction. Watchtowers are densely placed along this section of the Great Wall - 22 watchtowers on this 2,250-meter-long stretch. Both the outer and inner parapets are crenelated with merlons, so that shots could be fired at the enemy on both sides - a feature very rare on other parts of the Great Wall.
The Jinshanling section of the Great Wall is located in the mountainous area in Luanping County, 125km northeast of Beijing (4 hours driving-time) and was built from 1570 during the Ming Dynasty.
It is one of the better preserved parts of the Great Wall with many original features and is named-so because it was built on the Jinshan(‘Gold Mountain’) Ranges. You can walk for about 4km, but the connection to Simatai is now closed. Entrance ticket fee is not included (50rmb extra)
(Chinese: 八达岭; Chinese: 八達嶺; Chinese: Bādálǐng) is the site of the most visited section of the Great Wall of China, approximately 50 miles (80 km) northwest of urban Beijing city in Yanqing County, which is within the Beijing municipality. The portion of the wall running through the site was built during the Ming Dynasty, along with a military outpost reflecting the location's strategic importance. The highest point of Badaling is Beibalou (traditional Chinese: 北八樓), approximately 0.63 miles (1,015 m) above sea level. Portion of the wall at Badaling has undergone heavy restoration, and in 1957 it was the first section of the wall to open to tourists. Now visited annually by millions, the immediate area has seen significant development, including hotels, restaurants, and a cable car. The recently completed Badaling Expressway connects Badaling with central Beijing.
It was here that President Richard Nixon and his wife, accompanied by Vice Premier Li Xiannian, visited on February 24, 1972, during his historic journey to China. It was also the part of the wall climbed by Mao Zedong and other 370 international dignitaries and celebrities. Badaling and the expressway were the site of the finishing circuit of the Urban Road Cycling Course in the 2008 Summer Olympics. Laps of the circuit passed through gates in the wall.
The Legend of Kung Fu is a performance that tells the story of a young boy found wandering outside an ancient temple. Just like every young boy in China, his dream is of becoming a Kung Fu master. On the road to enlightenment the young monk encounters many difficulties and temptations. The show has English subtitles shown above the stage to keep you informed of the story line. However, the actors do not speak: the show is pure Kung Fu, dance and acrobatics. This fusion of modern dance and Chinese traditional arts make the performance both unique and spectacular.
The best Kung Fu practitioners from all over China have been found for this production and it shows on stage, plus the fact that their average age is just seventeen years old. In addition, the costumes, set design and special effects are up to international standards, created by some of the best stage directors and designers in both China and overseas.
The Legend of Kung Fu is produced by China's leading performance art production company, China Heaven Creation International Performing Arts.
You can book tickets directly from Happy Dragon reception desk.
China has many world class acrobatic troupes because practically every province and major city will have its own acrobatic troupe, and children are selected to be trained as performers from a young age. In Beijing one can see breath-holding acrobatics, some of which can be so demanding in the timing and balancing skill as to verge on the impossible.
The group bicycling show is also a favourite with the ten cycling girls finally all ending up on one bicycle with their fans spread out like a peacock. There are also girl performers so spineless that they can bend and fold their bodies to a position where the feet clasped the face and the head and hands are still balancing some glasses. Other exciting acts are the juggling of large porcelain urns, martial arts, balancing of bowls, umbrellas or stacked chairs, rope walking, pole climbing, roller skating and plate swirling.
Chinese acrobatics is said to have started during the Warring States Period (475-221 BC) two thousand years old, though some claim it is four thousand years old on the basis of the mythical Yellow Emperor, Huangdi, having started a martial form of acrobatics at a victory celebration in Wuqiao some 300 km south of Beijing. It is interesting to know that almost every adult in Wuqiao today knows some acrobatic trick. Since 1987, Wuqiao has held the Wuqiao International Acrobatics Festival which is an event for the international acrobatic fraternity.
The acrobatics became refined during the Han Dynasty (221 BC-220 AD) by which time juggling, fire eating, knife swallowing and tight rope walking were regular features. The Han Dynasty scholar and scientist, Zhang Heng (AD 78-139), has been much quoted by Chinese acrobatic enthusiasts as having mentioned in his Ode to the Western Capital and to the Eastern Capital the various forms of acrobatics then.
In the Tang Dynasty (618-907), acrobatics received royal patronage with shows performed for the imperial court as depicted by a Dunghuang Grotto mural. By the Song Dynasty (960-1279) acrobatics become upstaged by opera as an entertainment for the literati and the ruling class. As it descended to be an entertainment for the ordinary folks, it was continually sustained and nurture by the commoners into the fascinating Chinese acrobatics of today.
Success of acrobatics depends also on good stage arts like stage images, music, choreography and costumes backed up by props and lighting. The frequent local competitions in China for acrobatic excellence have made China a nation unique in an oriental form of acrobatics.
Peking Opera at the Beijing Liyuan Theatre One of the most favored theatres in Beijing is Li Yuan Theatre at Qianmen Hotel. This Beijing Opera theatre is located at a very fashionable hotel in the heart of the commercial and business center of the city. Widely known for Peking Opera plays, Li Yuan Theatre in Beijing is maintained by the Beijing Opera Theatre of the city and Qianmen Hotel with the support of the Beijing Tourism and Cultural Bureaus.
You can see the performances at the performance hall of Li Yuan Theatre Beijing. Besides the theatre has a display and sales hall where visitors can have a glimpse at the stage photos of famous artists and gain knowledge about the popular Beijing Operas. You can also buy Beijing opera costumes, its props, Chinese painting, calligraphies and tapes, or try a few opera costumes and put on a make up to have yourself photographed as an opera artist.
Here you will see Peking opera with English sub-titles.
Show Time : Daily 7:30-8:50pm
You can book tickets directly from Happy Dragon's reception desk
China boasts more than 360 regional styles of opera. These ancient forms of drama are still active on China's stages today. A regional opera is usually popular in several provinces, while one province enjoys several local operas. Known as the national opera of China, Peking (Beijing) Opera is the most influential and representative of all the operas in China, and one of the three main theatrical systems in the world.
Although it is called Peking (Beijing) Opera, its origins are not in Beijing but in the provinces of Anhui and Hubei. It is believed that Peking (Beijing) Opera gradually came into being after 1790 when Anhui Province's four most famous opera troupes paid a visit to Beijing. Based upon traditional Anhui Opera, Peking (Beijing) Opera has also adopted repertoire, music and performing techniques from Kun Opera and Qingqiang Opera as well as traditional folk tunes. It took the best from each style and eventually formed its own highly stylized music and performing techniques.
Peking Opera underwent fast development during the reign of Emperor Qianlong and the notorious Empress Dowager Cixi of the Qing Dynasty. Having an imperial patron, made Peking (Beijing) Opera extremely popular, and therefore more accessible to the common people. Empress Dowager Cixi was an avid fan. The huge three-story theater in the Summer Palace is a proof of her love of Peking Opera.
Peking (Beijing) Opera is a blend of music, dance, art, acrobatics, and martial arts. With its beautiful paintings, exquisite costumes, and graceful gestures, Peking (Beijing) opera has developed into a comprehensive art system.
Filled with many aspects of Chinese cultural, Peking opera presents the audience with an encyclopedia of Chinese culture. Its repertoire includes historical plays, comedies, tragedies and farces. Many historical events are adapted into the plays, which in the past were an important primer on history and ethical principles for poorly educated common people.
Peking (Beijing) Opera features an orchestral and percussion band. The former frequently accompanies peaceful scenes while the latter provides the right atmosphere for battle scenes. The commonly used percussion instruments include castanets, drums, bells and cymbals. The orchestral instruments include the Erhu, Huqin, Yueqin, reed pipe, and lute. The band usually sits on the left side of the stage. It works together with the actors to add just the right mood to go along with the action on stage.
Roles - how to figure out role's identity the moment they appear on the stage
Traditionally in China, women were forbidden to enter theatres, so all Peking (Beijing) Opera characters were performed by men. But now, women enjoy equal rights with men on stage, and more women are appearing on the Opera stage than ever before.
Characters in Peking (Beijing) Opera are roughly divided into four types of roles: Sheng (the positive male role), Dan (the positive female role), Jing (a supporting male role), and Chou (the clown or a negative character), which are further classified by age and profession. Every type of role wears its own facial makeup and costume, allowing audience members to figure out its identity of the character the moment it appears on the stage. (See pictures on the left)
Facial Makeup - how to tell good from evil
The facial makeup of Peking (Beijing) Opera highlights and exaggerates the principal features of the characters. One major characteristic of Peking (Beijing) Opera is the colors painted on the face of a character. It is vital to the understanding of a play. This is a feature unique to Chinese opera. (See pictures and interpretations on the left)
The main performing skills of Peking (Beijing) Opera consist of singing, speaking, acting and martial arts. The operatic dialogues and monologues are recited in Beijing dialect, and some of the words are pronounced in a special fashion, unique to Peking (Beijing) opera. That is why every Peking Opera performance is accompanied with subtitles in Chinese, and English.
Performers, in addition to singing, use well-established movements, such as smoothing a beard, adjusting a hat, jerking a sleeve, or raising a foot, to express certain emotions and meaning. Opening a door, walking at night, rowing a boat, eating, drinking and the like are all demonstrated by stylized movements of the actors and actresses. Performers also use their eyes and facial expressions to convey the specific meanings.
Liyuan Theatre - Beijing
Peking (Beijing) Opera is a featured part of a visitor's China tour. It is an essential part of Chinese culture, and something not to be missed. The best place in China to enjoy Peking (Beijing) Opera is Beijing's Liyuan Theatre. Located in the Qianmen Jianguo Hotel in Beijing, Liyuan Theatre is the most prestigious performance venue for Peking (Beijing) Opera. Every night, some of China's foremost actors and actresses perform, and after the show, audience members are allowed to visit their dressing rooms, and have photos taken with them.
Peking (Beijing) Opera's most Famous Operas:
1) Farewell to Concubine
The kingdoms of Chu and Han were at war. General Xiang Yu of the Chu Kingdom was surrounded by the Han army at Jiuli Mountain in Gaixia. In order to distract Xiang Yu, his concubine Yu Ji sang songs and performed a sword dance to cheer him up. This is the magnum opus of the Mei School of Peking (Beijing) Opera.
2) Havoc in Heaven
This is an ancient Chinese fairy tale. The Empire of Heaven was having a huge peach banquet, but did not invite the Monkey King. This angered the Monkey King so much that he went up to heaven before the banquet, and ate all the peaches and the Pills of Immortality intended for the banquet. He then proceeded to destroy many of Heaven's palaces. Due to its large amount of martial arts, this is one of China's most popular Operas.
3) The Crossroad
Jiaozan, a senior official of the Song Dynasty was exiled to Shamen Island because he killed a treacherous court official. The commander in chief Yang Yanzhao sent Ren Tanghui to protect Jiaozan secretly. During the night, Ren stayed at the same crossroad inn as Jiao. In that inn, a fierce fight took place between Ren Yanzhao and the innkeeper Liu Lihua who thought Ren Yanzhao wanted to murder Jiaozan. The fight waged for hours until Liu Lihua's wife came in with a lit candle. The two men recognized each other, and this cleared up their misunderstanding.
4) Picking up a Jade Bracelet
A young girl named Sun Yujiao enjoyed doing embroidery work in front of her family home's gate. One day a young intellectual named Fu Ming passed by and instantly fell in love with her. Fu Ming dropped a jade bracelet on the ground on purpose to express his love. Sun Yujiao picked it up, which signified her acceptance of his love. Before Fu Ming's dropping of the bracelet, she did not like him, but when he gave this display of his love for her, she changed her mind. This is a very traditional style of Chinese love story.
5) The Drunken Concubine
One day, Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty invited his favorite concubine Yang to admire flowers in a pavilion. Yang waited for the emperor but he never showed up. Instead, he went to another of his concubine's residence. Angered at being jilted, Yang felt depressed and got drunk. She sang to express her sadness and went back to her own palace filled with resentment.
|Mutianyu Great Wall||280rmb per person||transport & tickets & breakfast & lunch||7:30am leave, 4pm arrive back at the hostel. 2-3 hours to the wall. 3 hours on the wall before returning. (*these times are approximate only)|
|Jinshangling Great Wall||260rmb per person||transport, breakfast and lunch there (excluding 50rmb entrance ticket upon arrival)||6:20am leave,6pm arrive back at the hostel. 3 hours on the wall before returning. (*these times are approximate only)|
|Badaling Great Wall And Ming Tombs||180rmb per person||transport, breakfast and lunch there, tour-guide (with shopping)||7:40am leave,6pm arrive back at the hostel.|
|Kung Fu Show||180rmb per person||transport (one-way) and tickets.||6.30pm every night. Show lasts 50 minutes to 1 hour.|
|Chinese Acrobatics||180rmb per person||transport (one-way) and tickets.||6.30pm every night. Show lasts 1 hour.|
|Beijing Opera Show||180rmb per person||transport (one-way) and tickets.||6.30pm every night. Show lasts 1 hour.|
Tickets can be booked directly from the Happy Dragon reception desk