Mar 13, 2013

The majestic Great Wall was built with wisdom, dedication, blood, sweat and tears.
Many legends and myths exist regarding the building of this wall. Some of the famous stories are as follows:

The Legend of Meng Jiangnv

In the Qin Dynasty (221 B.C. - 206 B.C.), a young man named Liang Fanqi escaped from the Great Wall construction site and hid in a private garden where he came across the owner’s pretty daughter, Meng Jiangnü. They fell in love and got married. Unfortunately, Liang Fanqi was found, captured and returned to the construction site.


Meng JiangNv Sculpture

Meng Jiang Nü waited day and night for her husband. Winter came but Liang Fanqi failed to return. Meng Jiangnü sewed some warm clothes to take to her husband. She arrived at the construction site, but Liang Fanqi was nowhere to be found. She was then informed that Liang Fanqi had died and his body was built into the Great Wall. Meng Jiangnü stayed by the wall and wept for days and nights. Deeply moved by the girl’s bitter weeping, a 400-kilometer  section of the Great Wall collapsed and exposed the bones and bodies of many dead men. Meng Jiangnü cut her fingers and let her blood drip on the dead bodies until her blood started flowing when she passed over one particular body. Knowing that this was her husband, she buried him and then drowned herself.

This is a wide spread legend about the Great Wall. Plays and operas based on the story have been popular through the ages in all parts of China. Temples have been built in her memory. Among the dozen or so major ones, the temple at Shanhai Pass remains in good condition to this day. If you ever get a chance to visit Shanhaiguan, you can pay a visit to the Mengjiangnü Temple.

Metal Soup Great Wall

On the outskirts of Beijing, there is a famous section of the Great Wall called Huanghuacheng (the yellow flower fortress).  It was so named for the hills covered by yellow flowers in the summer. There is a famous story about the construction of this section of the wall.

During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the emperor ordered a general named Cai Kai to build the Huanghuacheng Section of the Great Wall. Cai Kai employed meticulous quality control and spent several arduous years to finish this task. However, he was hastily beheaded when the ministry of war got wind of his extravagance. The emperor realized he had wronged Cai Kai after an official found the wall to be extraordinarily solid and steep.

Later, the emperor built a tomb and tombstone for Cai Kai to commemorate his great contribution. At the same time, he had someone engrave Jintang (Metal Soup) into a rock to describe the sturdiness of this section of the Great Wall. Therefore, the Huanghuacheng wall is also referred to as Metal Soup Great Wall.

The Xifengkou Legend

There is an underwater section of the Great Wall in Hebei Province called Xifengkou (Happy Meeting Mouth).


Great Wall - Xifengkou

A legend relates that in the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC), a young man was taken away to build the Great Wall. Winter came but he failed to return. His father worried about him so much that he went to the site to look for him. They ran into each other at Songting Hill by chance. They were so happy that they laughed themselves to death. The pass where they were buried was later named Xifengkou Pass.


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