by Soo Kim, The Telegraph, August 2, 2018
Eight lucky travellers will be given a unique chance to spend the night on top of the Great Wall of China next month.
Airbnb claims its temporary accommodation, perched atop a watchtower and with 360-degree views of the surrounding landscape, will represent the first time in thousands of years that ordinary visitors have been permitted to sleep on the ancient fortification.
The pop-up room, part of a campaign to promote preservation efforts at the Great Wall, features a four-poster double bed, but is open to the elements – perfect for mountain views during the day and stargazing at night.
The candle-lit space, which sleeps two, also has modern lamps and floor lighting, as well as a cosy lounge area with a sofa and a dining table.
Guests will be able to enjoy gourmet food and traditional Chinese music before bed, while a guided sunrise hike through the countryside and a tour of the Great Wall with historians will also be offered. Quite how they will be protected from a sudden downpour remains to be seen.
For a chance to win the once-in-a-lifetime stay, Airbnb is asking people to enter a competition online by August 11, answering the following question: “Why is it more important now than ever to break down barriers between cultures? How would you want to build new connections?” Four winners and their guests will be flown to China from anywhere in the world and will need to complete their stay between September 4 and 8. Other terms and conditions apply.
Considered one of history’s greatest feats of engineering, the Great Wall is a series of fortifications that stretches from Shanhaiguan, on the Bohai Sea, to Lop Lake in the Gobi Desert.
“Walls were erected in northern China from the eighth century BC onwards, though building was sporadic,” says Chris Moss, author of Telegraph Travel’s complete guide to the Great Wall. “During the Qin dynasty (221-206 BC), a connected Great Wall was begun as part of Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s project to unify China. From the earliest days, the wall had beacon towers — from which flag, gunpowder and smoke signals were sent, creating the world’s first telegraphy system.
“The wall we see today has vestiges of both the early and later constructions. In June 2012 China’s State Administration of Cultural Heritage reported – after an archaeological survey that took five years to complete – that the wall measures a precise 13,170.69 miles.”