IntroductionThe Great Wall of China, constructed as we see it today mostly during the Ming Dynasty, has the distinction of being the longest man-made structure in the entire world, so the fact that it is China's largest tourist attraction is no surprise. The history of this awe-inspiring structure dates back to the Qin dynasty, when the very first walls were built. The length of the wall is what makes this truly one of the Seven Wonders of the Medieval World. Below we list some fascinating information about this wall including how long it actually is, who built it, and why?
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The Great Wall of China Interesting Facts
- The original purpose of the wall was to defend and protect the Chinese Empire and its territories from enemies.
- The Great Wall winds its way through numerous Chinese provinces. It goes through mountainous regions, deserts, and grasslands.
- The wall begins in Liaoning to the east and snakes through Northern China via Hebei, Beijing, Tianjin, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia and finally Gansu.
- The wall was built by people from many walks of life and the construction was overseen by several Chinese emperors. Prisoners, disgraced noblemen, guards, peasants, farmers, soldiers and commoners all played a part in the construction of the wall.
- Astronauts cannot see the Great Wall from the moon with just the naked eye, as rumors suggest.
- Approximately 50 million foreign tourists visit the wall annually.
- The most common spot to visit is Balding which is approximately 50 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of Beijing. This part of the wall was built during the Ming Dynasty. The wall in this area has undergone a lot of restoration. It is here that US President Richard Nixon visited on his famous trip to China in 1972 and it was the first area of the wall to be opened to foreign tourist.
The Great Wall of China Construction Facts
- Construction on the wall began over 2,000 years ago in 476 BC.
- Although started in the Qin Dynasty, numerous dynasties have contributed to the construction of the wall, including the Han, Sui, Jin, and Ming dynasties.
- Much of the wall was constructed and some even rebuilt during the Ming Dynasty. During the rebuilding process, more elaborate features such as watchtowers were added.
- The length of the wall, which is 2,145 miles (3452 kilometers), also has another 1,770 miles (2848 kilometers) of additional walls that branch out from the main wall.
- Materials used in making the wall varied depending on the period of time. Early materials included mortar made from rice flour, compacted earth, and wood. In later periods stone and brick were used.
- With its widest point reaching 30 feet (9 meters), the wall is wide enough to walk or ride a bike over. In fact, in some places, it is wide enough for two cars to fit next to each other.
- At its highest point, the wall reaches 26 feet (8 meters).
- In many places there are moats surrounding the Great Wall, which were built for an additional layer of defense.