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.



Hui 回族

2020-09-22 21:35

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tenbillionsteps, chinese culture,

Hui 回族

Discover the Hui回族, one of the 56 officially recognized ethnic groups in China.




Discover the Hui 回族




The Hui, 回族, with a population of 9.8 million (2010), are China's second most populous ethnic group (second only to the Han) and they are widely distributed in China, however their influence is particularly relevant in Ningxia. They commonly speak Mandarin, as well as some Mongol and Farsi words, and local dialects in different areas of China.

Their name is an abbreviation of “Huihui” and their origins date back to the 7th century, when Arabs and Persians came to China to trade and settled there, mixing with local population, and later, in the 13th century, these new mixed groups escaped from eastern China due to the Mongolian invasion.


Most of Hui people believe in Islam and this has a profound impact on their habits and their architecture style – for instance, the mosque is a distinctive element of their architecture style. Traditional Hui Inkstick Craftsmanship, traditional Hui handicraft embroidery (民间传统手工艺回族刺绣引), and Hui style architectures in some villages are listed among China’s national Intangible Cultural Heritage.

In addition to their craftsmanship abilities, the Hui are famous for marriage traditions (such as the habit to serve 8 to 12 dishes during the marriage feast), peculiar taboos (such as considering the making of any joke about food unacceptable), and their modesty and their respect of a strict dining etiquette.

Traditionally, men wear black or white clothes, while women prefer to colorful decorations on their clothes such as colorful threads and embroidery flowers.

Men usually wear small black or white hats, while women wear either white hat or veils characterized by different colors based on their marital status.


Their diet varies depending on the area different groups live in, however, in general, they prefer wheat-based to rice-based food, they make a variety of desserts and they appreciate beef and mutton meat.



-          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

-          chinadaily.com.cn/culture/2015-11/11/content_22427492_5.htm

-          chinahighlights.com/travelguide/nationality/hui.htm

-          en.chinaculture.org/focus/focus/minzuwang/2010-06/08/content_381927.htm

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

-          travelchinaguide.com/intro/nationality/hui/

-          usa.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201803/10/WS5aa32435a3106e7dcc140ca0.html

Pictures credits

-          Chen Haiwen (group photo)

-          Cheng Si, China Daily (Hui inkstick)

-          China Daily (Hui women with pink veils)

-          @francesca_xiaomei_3012 (hui man reading, Instagram)

-          @jaume_torrent (man removing shoes, Instagram)

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