The Simatai Great Wall was firstly built in the first year of Emperor Hongwu in the Ming Dynasty. It is the only existing section of the Ming Great Wall. Its location has strategic significance and it is on the route of Qing emperors' journey of ancestor worshipping and hunting. The Ming Dynasty set up post routes here and military sites. Emperor Kangxi once regarded here as a summer resort and Emperor Qianlong reviewed troops and wrote many poems known and praised by Chinese people.
The Reign of Emperor Hongwu
In the eleventh year of the reign of Emperor Hongwu, the emperor ordered Xu Da to build the Gubeikou Pass, and boost defense capability by adding stones on the prior Great Wall.
They built two new passes, one of which is the Iron Gate Pass at the gate of the Great Wall and only allows one ride and carriage to pass at the same time, while the other, or Water Gate Pass, is on the river, with only relics being left now.
Since 1368, the local government focused on building the passes and the troops stationing there to plant crops. Platforms are built along the border. In 1427, Mongolian invaders led by their prince tried to conquer Gubeikou but failed because of the strong defense.
The Reign of Emperor Chenghua
1465-1487In this period, the major project was connecting the passes with walls and flatten the rocks beside the walls to create cliff and dig deep ditches in flat areas. The defense system is called "Pianpo" and "Haoqian" (slope and ditch). The Pianpo near the Simatai Great Wall are all located on the outer side of the walls in the comparatively flat area near the ridge, enabling it to extend for a long distance. Besides, people also consolidated the defense structure of nearby counties and forts.
The Reign of Emperor Longqing
In 1569, then prime minister Zhang Juzheng transferred Qi Jiguang and Tan Lun, generals fighting against pirates in southern China, to northern China to strengthen border defense. Tan was assigned to be the governor of Jiliao region and Qi the military chief of the Ji County.
Under Qi's management, more than 600 km of the Great Wall in the Ji County was turned into a strong defense line with tall walls, abundant forts and signal towers.
During the project, Qi not only preserved the Great Wall built in Northern Qi Dynasty but added new bricks to the outer side. This led to the birth of the well-known "double great wall" in Gubeikou.
the Gubeikou Battle
in the spring of 1933In March 1933, the seventeenth troop of Kuomintang stationing at Gubeikou, the gate of Beijing city, fought a cruel battle against the Japanese troops. This is one of the most fierce battles among the battles in cities along the Great Wall. The Simatai Great Wall was hit by bombs and canons, and the remaining parts were full of charm of history.
The Era of Protection
At the beginning of 1985, Yu Yingshi and Li Geng in charge of planning Beijing tourism believed that the inclination to destroy the historic relics is wrong in protecting the Great Wall and developing tourist spot, because they thought the development should not always try to please all visitors by allowing service facilities in the main part of the relics. They proposed to combine the protection with prospective design and establish a zone for comprehensive protection of the Ming Great Wall.
After a year of feasibility study, they concluded that the Simatai Great Wall has unique features and breathtaking landscape and, more importantly, the original Ming style. They considered the Simatai Great Wall qualified for realizing the designers' ideas.
In February 1986, the state council approved the plan to protect the Ming Dynasty Simatai Great Wall, and the task was assigned to Beijing municipal government. This marked the Simatai Great Wall first part of Ming Great Wall under protection in China. The state council also decided to spare special funds for repairing the roads of the area and asked the State Administration of Cultural Heritage and Beijing municipal government to draft a specific plan for development and construction.
Later, experts, central and local government and research institutes conducted thorough discussion to come up with better themes and technological solutions. Luo Zhewen, a famous Great Wall expert, believed that the original design is well-grounded according to field research and offered important suggestions to the plan.
From 21st March to 5th April 1988, UNESCO and ICCROM sent a six-people reviewing team to consider the listing of World Heritage in China. On 24th February, the team visited the Simatai Great Wall recommended by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage.
They pointed out that the reconstruction was satisfying and complied with relative international principles. Their praise was the only positive one after they visited three cultural sites in Beijing area listed on The World Heritage List.
In 1989, the Simatai Great Wall passed the review of Beijing Municipal Administration of Cultural Heritage. In 1990, it was opened to the public. Since then, the administrative office of the Simatai Great Wall has invested considerable funds into the maintenance of the Great Wall.
Since 1991, the development of the scenic spot has drawn the attention of the Party and government leaders. Jiang Zemin, Wei Jianxing, Jiang Chunyun, Ngapoi Ngawang Jigme, former Geman Chancellor Helmut Kohl and many ambassadors have visited the spot and spoke highly of it.
Since 1368, local government focused on building the passes and the troops stationing there to plant crops. Platforms are built along the border. In 1427, Mongolian invaders led by their prince tried to conquer Gubeikou but failed because of the strong defense.
In 2001, the Wall was designated as a national cultural heritage protection site.
In the past decade, the authority focused on heritage protection and tourism development at the same time, turning the scenic spot into an AAAA one. It also won the award of "advanced scenic spot" of the county and the city for eight consecutive years. Other awards it won include the Best Places in Beijing for Tourists, Outstanding Scenic Spots of Beijing and Top Ten Places to Visit in Beijing.