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Rebuilding the Great Wall of China

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Written by jonathan     June 19, 2017    
 
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At one of the most treacherous and less-restored stretches of the Great Wall, a line of pack mules halted upon emerging from the gloom of a dense forest draped in mist and dew.

Laden with 150 kg (330 pounds) of bricks each, the seven animals finally got moving in response to the coaxing and swearing of their masters, eager to gain altitude before the sun climbed high in the sky.

Transported by mules

For more than a decade, mules have been crucial in the effort to restore Jiankou, a serpentine 20-km (12-mile) section of the wall about 70 km (44 miles) north of central Beijing that is notorious for its ridges and perilous slopes.

“The path is too steep and the mountains are too high, so the bricks can only be transported by mules,” said local mule owner Cao Xinhua, who has worked on Great Wall restoration projects in the mountains north of Beijing for 10 years.

Where they could, workers would use the original bricks that have come off the wall over the centuries. When they found none, they used new bricks made to exacting specifications.

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