What the project aims to achieve is the recognition of the Great Wall as a living ecosystem, showing a different picture of the Wall, namely not the architectural nor historical sight, instead the human and natural ecosystem, exploring human activities in the area and understanding how they interact with the natural environment and the Wall and how these three elements are or can become mutually beneficial. During the fieldwork there will be a comprehensive observation and collection of information about the cultural peculiarities and natural uniqueness of the ecosystem. The project aims at correctly produce an innovative interpretation of the issue itself.

While travelling along the provinces, another purpose will be that of exploring Sino-European cultural relations through a bottom-up approach, showing that cooperation between two passionate foreigners and local long-established communities can be mutually beneficial, especially if the common aim is the conservation of an ecosystem, which is also a world heritage. Increase awareness on the importance of conservation, sustainable development, tourism sustainability, value and respect of local cultures, and on the close ties between nature and cultural heritage is another main goal. This goes well along with the aim of fostering Great Wall ecosystem environmental preservation through sharing positive practices and new solutions abiding from mutual dialogue and common experiences. Collecting and sharing views, tools, experience and examples of various local communities on development opportunities while respecting and conserving the environment, in order to conduct sustainable activities. 

All of this will be made stressing the splendor and variety of rural local cultures in China, less famous than touristic sights, nonetheless characterized by an equally relevant cultural heritage, fostering their conservation. Understanding whether habits, food, typical products, myths and beliefs of various communities living along different spots of the Wall share similarities due to this common characteristic; in other terms, the goal consists of understanding whether the Ming Dynasty Wall has been a “Great Road” connecting and influencing distant communities living along it. We intend to encourage this new study approach integration to existing ones.

At the end of the day, inspiring explorers and dreamers of all ages, showing that even small steps may have a positive impact on a wider community, is the final reason why this initiative came to life. The aim is to show that the Chinese proverb “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” is not just a common saying, instead it can become true with the right balance between passion, reason and preparation.



Daur 达斡尔族

2020-08-07 16:57

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heilongjiang, field hockey, beikuo, dahur, dawoer,

Daur 达斡尔族

Discover the Daur, one of the 56 ethnic groups living in China.

Discover the Daur, 达斡尔族

The 达斡尔族 (Dáwò'ěrzú), Daur (also Dahur, Dauer, Daguer, Dahuer or Dawoer), with a population of 131,992 (2010), are one of the 56 officially recognized ethnic groups in China.

They are mainly distributed in Inner Mongolia (Morin Dawa Daur Autonomous Banner of Hulunbuir region), Heilongjiang (Meilisi Daur District of Qiqihar), and in Xinjiang (Tacheng area).

Traditionally, they speak the Daur language, deriving from the Mongolian with Khitan features. The name Daur, self-attributed by the ethnic group, means “cultivator”.

Most of the Daur people believe in Shamanism: each clan has its own shaman, which is not only a spiritual intermediary but also a counselor for each major decision of the clan.

Daur Shaman's Orientation Festival达斡尔族萨满斡包祭) is listed among Inner Mongolia Intangibile Cultural Heritage (内蒙古区级非物质文化遗产名录), as well as Daur folk songs (达斡尔族民歌), Daur folk art of sewing cloth (达斡尔族民间缝布艺术), Daur costumes (达斡尔族服饰) and 17 Daur villages.

Their folk dances and traditions are also listed among Heilongjiang Intangibile Cultural Heritage(黑龙江省省级非物质文化遗产名录).


In addition to their folk traditions, they are famous for their clan life, their passion for sports – wrestling and “beikuo” (field hockey), their strict etiquette and taboos, their festivals and wedding traditions.

Traditionally, they wear silk trousers and robes, scarfs used as belts, colorful jackets, leather boots in winter, patterned shoes in summer, and unique pointy hats.

Their diet consist of millet or buckwhats noodles and cakes, milk, deer meat, pheasant, duck, oat porridge with soybeans, and vegetables they cultivate themselves.


-          Chen H.W., “Harmonious China – Features of China’s 56 Ethnic Groups”, 2010

-          The People’s Republic of China, “Sixth National Population Census of the People’s Republic of China”, 2010

-          china.org.cn/e-groups/shaoshu/shao-2-daur.htm

-          factsanddetails.com/china/cat5/sub88/entry-4351.html

-          govt.chinadaily.com.cn/s/201912/09/WS5dee1547498ee880be977ddf/a-brief-introduction-to-the-daur-ethnic-group.html

-          innermongolia.chinadaily.com.cn/2013-12/18/content_17182552.htm

-          theculturetrip.com/asia/china/articles/an-introduction-to-chinas-daur-people/

-          travelchinaguide.com/intro/nationality/daur/

Pictures credits

-          Chen Haiwen (group photo)

-          chinadaily.com (field hockey photo)

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