"Watching-the-capital" Tower: Head of the Giant Dragon

By Simatai Great Wall

Scenery of Simatai Great Wall - Stargazing by Simatai Great WallSimatai Great Wall

Origin of its name

The Wangjing Tower ("Watching-the-capital Tower") stands at an altitude of 986 meters. It towers over the peak of Tiger Mountain, the summit of the Simatai and Gubeikou Great Wall section. Looking from afar, it is like a cone that plunges straight into the sky.

The tower is a two-story structure built with bricks. Its name comes from the fact that at night, one can see the lights of Beijing shimmering from 120 km away.

Simatai Great Wall Juxian Tower and Wangjing Tower (2019-05-06) by Wu QiangSimatai Great Wall

A poem describing the Wangjing Tower:

The sky stairs tower into the sky.
The sky bridge hangs over the clouds.
Graceful the Fairy Tower though,  
it is difficult to ascend to Wangjing Tower.

Rime at Simatai Great Wall Wangjing Tower (2019-02-13) by Wu QiangSimatai Great Wall

Legend about the Wangjing Tower

Legend has it that while building the Wangjing Tower, the Jade Emperor was moved by the determination of the soldiers and their hard work. So he sent Erlang Shen for assistance. At night when all the soldiers were asleep, Erlang Shen used his power to move stones to the top of the mountain. Unexpectedly, a soldier saw him and screamed. Afraid of scaring more people, he immediately flew away, leaving the rest of the dressed stones at the foot of the mountain. 

Without these dressed stones, the soldiers had to pick some blocks to replace them when they laid the foundation for the Wangjing Tower. To this day, people can see the stones stacked in a col east of the Wangjing Tower. 

Evening glow at Simatai Great Wall by Wu QiangSimatai Great Wall

People often make up things that are simply beyond human capabilities into myths. In fact, no matter how difficult a project is, it is only made possible with hard work. The ancient workers used winches, roller bars, crowbars, scaffolding and other tools to transport the stones, while in places where it was difficult to reach, they turned to their own hands and shoulders. 

Many beacon towers on the Great Wall have been eroded, and some are still well preserved. Wangjing tower is one of the best preserved among all.

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