Facts About the Great Wall of China

Walking on the Great Wall of China might be your life long dream. Just like its impressive structure this wall has some history and fascinating facts associated with it. Read these interesting facts about the Great Wall of China.
| Friday, October 17, 2008

China has always been synonymous with the imposing beauty of one of its construction and architectural wonders – The Great wall of China. Primarily built for security purposes this beautiful landmark has become an important part of Chinese culture. Millions of people both within and outside China flock yearly to experience the feeling of being a part of this wonderful creation. The Great Wall of China is almost 2000 years old and was not built as a single wall structure. Instead it is made of a series of walls built by different rulers in different time spans to protect their lands and the people. The construction of this wall was initially started in the early part of seventh century B.C. These different rulers who built different sections of the walls also created watch towers which were used to send messages between the army. Over a period of time more and more sections of the wall were created and thereby the Great Wall of China came into existence. Like its impressive size there are some very interesting facts about that Great wall of China. These facts are:

  • The Great wall of China stretches across Northern China from east to west.
  • Initially the Great Wall of China was built for protection of the northern borders of China from any plausible attacks from Mongolia. However this wall is most known for the additions in its structure made by Qin Shi Huang during 220 – 200 B.C. However not much of these additions made by the first emperor of China remain. The last additions were made during the existence of the Ming dynasty and around 6000 kilometers were added in this time.
  • If the different sections of walls built during different time periods are all included then the total length of the wall will be more than 50000 kilometers.
  • When the first part of this mammoth structure was built China was divided and it was only during the Qin dynasty that walls of three states of the north were linked and this came to be known as "Wai Li Chang Cheng" (ten thousand).
  • The different dynasties that built different sections of the Great wall used materials such as stones and earth to build them. Mountain ridges and other natural areas were incorporated to form part of the structure of the wall. During the West Han Dynasty, sand and stones that were crushed were used. These were used in areas that were prone to high winds and wind erosions such as in deserts and grasslands. Layers of reeds and tamarisk twigs were also used in these areas
  • The average height of the Great Wall of China is 30 feet and it is around 15 feet wide.
  • Different dynasties employed workers that were forced to complete the creation of the wall. It is said that around one million people working on this structure died during the process of building this wall and for this reason the Great wall of China is also known as the longest cemetery on earth.
  • The Great Wall of China has more than 10000 watchtowers and platforms that were used for observation and patrol.
  • The wall near Beijing is constructed from blocks of quarried limestone.
  • In 1987 the Great Wall of China was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site.
  • There are four popular sections in this wall that are frequently visited by tourists when they travel to China. These sections are Mutianya, Simatai, Badaling and Shixiaguan. It is best to visit the Great Wall of China between the periods of May to October.
  • A recent discovery in this structure includes around 500 miles of this Wall that had previously remained buried for many years.
  • The bricks used by the Ming dynasty in the Great Wall of China are an engineering marvel since they can hold more than 1000 pounds of pressure per square inch.
  • The wall made during the Ming dynasty was at one point of time guarded by around one million men.
  • At one point of time claims were made that the Great Wall of China was visible from the moon but this is not true.
  • A conservation report submitted in 2004 indicated that only around one third of the wall now exists and even this length is shortening with time.
  • There are many legends surrounding the Great Wall of China and some of these are mentioned in stories and find a place in temples too.
  • In the period of 1950s farmers followed the orders of Mao Zedong a Chinese leader and demolished parts of the wall and this was used to build houses. This Chinese leader wanted the ‘past to serve the present’.
  • Danny Way was the first un-motorized individual to clear the Great Wall of China when he used a ramp to skateboard across the wall. This event was sponsored. Wang Jiaxiong was another person who tried to jump over the wall on a bike but was unsuccessful and died in the process.
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