6/4/08 14:50 CST (Hotel)
BEIJING- Today we visited the imperial tomb of the Ming dynasty and the Great Wall. Before reaching the tomb the tour bus brought us to the state run jade carving factory/store/museum. Judging by the scale of the facility, it produces jade carvings and jewelry for other stores and export as well. The concept of the jade facility and a similar vase producing one, visited later in the day, is odd but makes a lot of sense. The facilities put on a show explaining the history and construction of the product, then ushered you into the store to push merchandise. I imagine similar facilities produce all of the Chinese Kitsch found in stores across America. Both of these facilities pumped tourists in by the buss load.
The Ming tomb is a massive complex, created to inter the desisted emperors and empresses of the dynasty. We visited the tomb of one emperor of the dynasty. He along with his wife and 16 sacrificed concubines were buried in a mound behind the mourning hall and monument building.
Horse carving on the Ming Tomb monument
The portion of the Great wall we visited was a younger section (100s not 1,000s of years old) that has also been restored. I can’t image the logistics hauling and setting stones across a mountain range. I would think the mountain range would have been enough of a physical deterrent, to invasion but a stonewall with arrows raining down would make it nearly impossible.