Overview of the Great Wall of China

Travel to China

What country would try to build a giant wall to keep invaders out? China, of course. Here is an overview of the Great Wall of China.

Overview of the Great Wall of China

Of the many wonders of the modern world, few are as often talked about as the Great Wall of China. This ancient (though still considered modern by historical means) structure is a major tourist attraction, with many people from all over the world making trips to China just to see the Wall. There are many facets of the Great Wall of China that intrigue people to this day, and they probably will for many generations to come.

The original Great Wall of China was built in the 3rd century BC, during the Qin Dynasty. Additional work on this wall, as well as other versions of this fortification, was not completed until the 17th century (AD), with the current Great Wall being completed during the Ming Dynasty between 1368 - 1640. The original purpose of the Great Wall was to stop invaders from areas such as Mongolia and Manchuria, from entering China and trying to take over the country. The Wall spans 3,948 miles at the present time, and runs from Shanhai Pass on the Bohai Sea to Lop Nur in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. It is made of solid stone with packed earth on the interior.

Some tidbits about the Great Wall of China are not as impressive as its length and age. The Wall was built mostly by forced labor, as the government during different dynasties ordered people to work on the Wall. It was a grueling and horrible task, and approximately one million workers died in the process of building the Great Wall, from attacks and other conditions. For this reason, it's sometimes known as the "longest cemetery on Earth".

The condition of the Great Wall at this point in history is poor at best. Although some portions of the Wall are kept in good condition, near the tourist centers, other parts of the wall have fallen into disrepair and have even been dismantled as a source of stones for house repair. Only about 20 percent of the Great Wall today can be considered to be in good condition.

While the background of the Great Wall of China is relatively well-known, there is one fact that is widely disputed: whether or not you can see it from outer space. In recent years, it has been concluded that you can indeed see the Great Wall from space with the naked eye, but it's not extremely visible and you have to know where to look. But, why see it from outer space? A trip to the Great Wall of China could be one of the biggest adventures of your life, and it's definitely one of the world's great wonders to behold.


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