The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications made of stone, brick, tamped earth, wood, and other materials, generally built along an east-to-west line across the historical northern borders of China to protect the Chinese states and empires against the raids and invasions of the various nomadic groups of the Eurasian Steppe.
Several walls were being built as early as the 7th century BC these, later joined together and made bigger and stronger, are now collectively referred to as the Great Wall.
Especially famous is the wall built 220–206 BC by Qin Shihuang, the First Emperor of China. Little of that wall remains. Since then, the Great Wall has on and off been rebuilt, maintained, and enhanced; the majority of the existing wall is from the Ming Dynasty.
Other purposes of the Great Wall have included border controls, allowing the imposition of duties on goods transported along the Silk Road, regulation or encouragement of trade and the control of immigration and emigration. Furthermore, the defensive characteristics of the Great Wall were enhanced by the construction of watch towers, troop barracks, garrison stations, signaling capabilities through the means of smoke or fire, and the fact that the path of the Great Wall also served as a transportation corridor.
10 Interesting Facts about the Great Wall of China
1. Contrary to common belief, the Great Wall of China cannot be seen from space with the naked eye. It can be seen with aid.
2. As early as the Qin Dynasty (221-207BC) when building the Great Wall, glutinous rice flour was used in making the binding material to bind the bricks.
3 .The sections of the Great Wall that we mostly associate with The Great Wall of China were built by the Ming Dynasty. This was the last part of the wall that was built and has been made with brick and features many tall watch-towers.
4. The Great Wall of China has been called the longest cemetery on Earth. Over a million people died building the Wall and archaeologists have found human remains buried under parts of the wall.
5. Although the official number of the length of the Great Wall is 8851.8 kilometers (5500 miles), the length of all the Great Wall built over thousands of years is estimated at 21,196.18 kilometers (13,170 miles). The circumference of the Equator is 40,075 kilometers (24,901 miles).
6 . The Great Wall of China is threatened with erosion. The northwestern sections (e.g. in Gansu and Ningxia provinces) of the Great Wall are deteriorating so quickly. It is believed that these sections may disappear within 20 years, due to demolishment by nature and human.
7. Over 10 million people visit the Great Wall of China every year. The most famous section of the Great Wall-Badaling, had been visited by over 300 heads of state and VIPs from around the world, the first of which was Soviet. But it is also the busiest section of wall which is restored. If you are a hiker who like to see the real unspoiled Great Wall which is off the beaten path, we don’t suggest you go there.
8. During the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), many bricks of the Great Wall were taken away to use in building homes, farms or reservoirs. Otherwise many sections of the Great Wall would be preserved much better than what they are like today.
9. The Great Wall is wide enough in some places to drive a car over it.
10 . The most well known of all of the legends of The Great Wall of China is the story of “Men Jiangnu’s Bitter Weeping” whose husband died building the wall. Her weeping was so bitter that a section of the wall collapsed, revealing her husband’s bones so she could bury them.