The Great Wall of China is an amazing landmark. You may have seen a picture of the wall, but do you really know about it? Here we examine some surprising things you may not know about the Great Wall.
1. What is the Great Wall of China?
The Great Wall of China is a huge wall built on the traditional border of China. It is not one continuous segment, but several parts, with trenches and rivers and other barriers in between pieces.
2. Why was it built?
The wall was originally built to protect the Chinese Empire from intrusion. It is easier to keep people out than fight them once they are in, so China constructed the Great Wall.
3. How long is it?
The wall is about 5500 miles long. This includes almost 4000 miles of actual wall, plus about 200 miles of trenches, and 1300 miles of natural defense, such as a river or a hill.
4. Many smaller walls
The Great Wall didn’t start out so great. It was originally many other, smaller walls. Eventually these walls fell due to invasion or deterioration. The small walls were rebuilt and connected to each other, forming the Great Wall.
5. Ming Dynasty
Although many walls were built during many different periods, what remains now is mostly the product of the Ming Dynasty. This was from 1368 until 1644. The Ming Dynasty is the largest and most famous contributor to the Great Wall. Over all it took about 2000 years to build.
6. Deaths while building
There are many rumors surrounding the building of the wall. Some claim the wall is full of human remains, from all those who died during the build. Although no remains have been found, many did lose their lives building the wall. The exact number is unknown, and it thought to be as high as one million.
7. What is it made of?
If the wall isn’t made of human bones, what is it made of? Well, there are lots of materials used in the wall. Wood is even used in some places. Most of the wall is made up of rammed earth, adobe, stone, and bricks.
The Great Wall is the longest structure ever human made. It was widely rumored to be able to be seen from the moon, but this is only a rumor. It is still one of the most impressive man made things on Earth.
Less than 30% of the wall is in good condition. Some areas are expected to be lost to erosion within 20 years. Other places suffer from human use. There are currently two groups who work to protect the wall and keep it standing for future generations. They are the China Great Wall Society and the International Friends of the Great Wall.
10. Tourist attraction
Today, the Great Wall attracts many visitors. As many as 50 million people who live outside of China visit the wall every year. The wall gets even more visitors if you include China natives.