Among the seven wonders of the medieval world, the Great Wall of China serves as a testament to human ingenuity, perseverence and engineering skill. It is one of the oldest man-made monuments on earth, and one of the most iconic tourist attractions in China. Any visitor planning a trip toBeijing should take the time to see the wall as part of their itinerary. If you still aren’t convinced, check out some of the amazing facts that we have gathered about the history of the Great Wall, to see why it is such an important attraction.
When was the great wall of China built?
The wall is very old indeed. It started life as a number of separate walls built by neighboring states to protect against invaders from the North as early as the 7th Century B.C. (2700 years ago). When China was unified in 221 by the Qin Dynasty, the separate pieces of the wall were connected together and strengthened to defend the entire northern border of the country. Later, during the Ming Dynasty, the wall was moved further south and made even stronger. The current wall most closely resembles that wall, although remnants of the earlier fortification can still be found. It took centuries to complete, and it is estimated that more than 2 million laborers lost their lives while working on the project from illness, accidents, and starvation.
What was the purpose of the great wall?
Over the centuries, the wall served its purpose well, which was to deter invasions from Mongolia. During one of the largest invasions, the Great Wall helped defend the empire against Manchu attacks that began around the year 1600. Making use of the wall, the Ming army held off the Manchus at the heavily fortified Shanhaiguan pass, preventing the Manchus from entering the Chinese heartland. Unfortunately, the Manchus were finally able to cross the Great Wall in 1644, when the gates at Shanhaiguan were opened by Wu Sangui, a Ming border general who secretly hated the rulers of the Shun Dynasty. The Manchus quickly captured Beijing, and later conquered the rest of the country to establish the Qing Dynasty.
Under Qing rule, China’s borders were extended beyond the Gerat Wall, and Mongolia was annexed into the empire, so the fortifications lost their original purpose. Interestingly, a second “mini” wall was built in the south of China to protect and divide the Chinese from the ’southern barbarians’ called Miao (meaning barbaric and nomadic).
How long is the great wall of China?
The Great wall of China is 6700 km (4100 miles) in length. That is roughly the distance from San Francisco to New York City.
How tall is the great wall of China?
The wall varies in height from place to place, but many portions of the wall are as high as 8 meters (26 ft). Special fortifications and viewing towers also increase the height of the wall in certain places.
Can you really see the great wall from space?
One of the most interesting facts about the great wall of China is that astronauts claim to be able to see it from space. In fact, the wall is clearly visible in satellite photographs of China, so those astronauts are correct. Below is an image which shows the great wall from near-earth orbit. Some people have wondered if it is possible to see the great wall of China from the moon, however that is not true; the moon is too far away from the Earth for the wall to be visible to the naked eye.
If the population of China walked past you in single file, the line would never end because of the rate of reproductiion
Rice was an ingredient used in making the foundations of the Great Wall of China
In China, there are over 50 different ethnic groups including Mongols and Manchurians
China has had a government since 1766 B.C., and it one of the oldest institutions in the world
Shanghai is the biggest city in the world, holding almost 16 million people
China is the largest producer of hydroelectric power in the world, with reserves of over 680 Million Kilowatts
China has a “one-child” policy where couples will need to pay fees to have more than one child
Chinese families often have nicknames for members at home such as Niu (cow), Tu (rabbit) and Xiong (bear) so that evil spirits are not attracted to the child
Although China covers over 9 million kms, it only has one timezone. As such, people in the west only get daylight at 9am in the morning