The Great Wall of China is one of the greatest sights in the world — the longest wall in the world, an awe-inspiring feat of ancient defensive architecture. Its winding path over rugged country and steep mountains takes in some great scenery.
The Great Wall facts
Location: Northern China
Length: 21,196.18 km (13,170.7 mi), all known sections were measured
History: more than 2,300 years
History — Who Built the Great Wall, When, Why, and How
The "Long Wall" has a long history — more than 2,300 years. It was built in different areas by different states/dynasties to protect different territorial borders.
Why the Great Wall Was Built
why built the great wallThe Great Wall was built to prevent invasion and protect silk road trade.
To prevent invasion
To protect Silk Road trade
In the Qin Dynasty, the First Emperor of Qin inked the northern walls to prevent invasion from northern nations. In the Han Dynasty, the emperors extended the Great Wall far into today's western China to protect Silk Road trade.
How the Great Wall was Built
The majestic Great Wall was built with wisdom, dedication, blood, sweat, and tears. Families were separated, and many workers died and were interred as part of the Great Wall itself.
Workers: soldiers, peasants, rebels
Materials: stone, soil, sand, brick
Material delivery: by hand, rope, cart, goat (?)
Story continues below !
The Great Wall of China is the world's longest wall and biggest ancient architecture.
It has a stunning array of scenery from the beaches of Qinhuangdao, to rugged mountains around Beijing, to a desert corridor between tall mountain ranges at Jiayu Pass.
Here are 22 facts you should know to really appreciate the Great Wall...
10 Great Wall Numbers You Should Know
jinshanlingThe Great Wall at Jinshanling
1. The official length is 21,196.18 km (13,170.7 mi) — (6+ dynasties' worth)
2. Most of today's relics are the Ming Dynasty Great Wall: length 8,851 km (5,500 mi).
3. The Great Wall is more than 2,300 years old.
4. The Ming Great Wall crosses 9 provinces and municipalities: Liaoning, Hebei, Tianjin, Beijing, Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Ningxia, Gansu.
5. Badaling is the most visited section (63,000,000 visitors in 2001). And in the first week of May and October, the visitor flow can be up to 70,000 per day.
simataiThe Great Wall at Simatai
6. The average height of the Great Wall at Badaling and Juyong Pass is 7.88 meters, and the highest place is 14 meters high.
7. Nearly 1/3 of the Great Wall has disappeared without trace.
8. Since 1644, when the Ming Dynasty was overthrown, no further work has been done on the Great Wall (for military purposes — some has been restored for tourism).
9. Great Wall reconstruction and protection began with Badaling in 1957.
10. In December 1987 the Great Wall was placed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO.
10 More Top Great Wall Facts
jiankouThe Great Wall at Jiankou
1. The Great Wall of China cannot be seen from space by the human eye without aid.
2. The Great Wall is not a continuous line: there are side walls, circular walls, parallel walls, and sections with no wall (high mountains or rivers form a barrier instead). In the Qin Dynasty (221–206 BC), glutinous rice flour was used to bind the Great Wall bricks.
3. The Great Wall labor force included soldiers, forcibly-recruited peasants, convicts, and POWs.
4. The First Emperor of Qin was not the first to build the Great Wall. He linked the northern walls of the states he conquered.
5. There most popular Great Wall legend is about Meng Jiangnv, 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.
6. The Gubeikou Section of the Great Wall has bullet holes in it, evidence of the last battle fought at the Great Wall .
the jiayuguan passThe Jiayuguan Fortress
7. During the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976), many Great Wall bricks were used in building homes, farms, or reservoirs.
8. The northwestern Great Wall sections (e.g. in Gansu and Ningxia provinces) are likely to disappear in 20 years, due to desertification and change in human land use.
9. The Jiankou Section of the Great Wall, known for being steep and winding, enjoys the most appearances on Great Wall picture books and post cards.
10. The most famous section of the Great Wall — Badaling — has been visited by over 300 heads of state and VIPs from around the world. The first of which was Soviet statesman Klim Voroshilov in 1957.
More Interesting Great Wall Topics
why built the great wall
How long is the Great Wall? — The official length is 21,196.18 km (13,170.7 mi), but there's more to it than that...
Who built the Great Wall when and why? — Emperor Qin was not the first to build the Great Wall...
What protection is there for the Great Wall? — Threats to the Great Wall, and preventative and restorative measures ...
How was the Great Wall built? — The workers, materials, and techniques used are interesting...
Which world VIPs have visited the Great Wall? — Nixon, Obama, the Queen of England...
When is the best time to visit the Great Wall? — Depends on scenery and crowds...
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 bce; 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 bce by Qin Shi Huang, 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.
The Great Wall stretches from Dandong in the east, to Lop Lake in the west, along an arc that roughly delineates the southern edge of Inner Mongolia. A comprehensive archaeological survey, using advanced technologies, has concluded that the Ming walls measure 8,850 km (5,500 mi). This is made up of 6,259 km (3,889 mi) sections of actual wall, 359 km (223 mi) of trenches and 2,232 km (1,387 mi) of natural defensive barriers such as hills and rivers. Another archaeological survey found that the entire wall with all of its branches measure out to be 21,196 km (13,171 mi).