The Great Wall of China stands like the arc of a dragon’s tale across many deserts, valleys and mountains. There is a very few people who do not know about the Great Wall of China. It is the largest defensive structure ever made in the world and one of the most iconic and symbolic constructions in all of Asia. There are so many Great Wall of China facts that everybody should know. That is why; here I present some of the key, interesting and useful Great Wall of China facts:
1. The great wall is actually a collection of many smaller walls. They were built and joined together in different times mostly for defensive purposes. Connecting the walls together are many watch towers which were used to garrison the troops and send signals and raise flags.
2. The beginning of the Great Wall of China dates back to 7th century BC and for 2000 years the walls were built, rebuilt, joined, repaired and fortified. And the construction ended officially in the year 1644 when the last ruler of the Ming dynasty was defeated and the wall was breached.
3. Feudal warlords first started the construction of many smaller walls during 800 BC. These walls were joined together during the Qin Dynasty in around 220 BC, from 206 BC to 1368 AD extension and rebuilding of the wall continued by various rulers. The wall reached its greatest state during the Ming Dynasty reigning from 1386 to 1644.
4. The great wall stretches from Shanhaiguan of the eastern China to the Lop Lake in the west. One of the key Great Wall of China Facts is its length which is approximately 8,850 km (5,500 miles) including the natural barriers like trenches, rivers and hills. And total length of the actual wall is 6,259 km (3,889 miles).
5. Two other key Great Wall of China facts include its width and height. The wall has a maximum width of 30 feet at its broadest point. And the maximum height of the wall itself reaches 12 feet. But the highest point of the wall which is the roof of a watch tower is 26 feet. The wall is built over mountains and flat lands. On the top of the Heita Mountain the wall stands over 5000 feet above the sea level.
6. The original purpose of building the great wall was protection against the invaders of various races such as the Mongols and few other nomadic groups. The great wall was also used to control the border and regulate the transportation of goods through the famous Silk Road. It was often used to send signals by lighting fires and flags on the watch towers. Today it is the biggest and most tourist attraction in China.
7. The walls were made from various materials namely stone, wood, bricks, compacted earth, clay tiles and lime stones. In the early years like 200 BC even rice flower was used as glue to bind the bricks. The myth surrounding the wall that it was made from human bones is not true.
8. According to the historians and researchers, an estimated 800,000 people were involved in the construction of the Great Wall. Many peasants who worked for its construction were forcibly recruited. Many soldiers, war prisoners and convicts worked for its construction as well. One of the most miserable Great Wall of China Facts is that an estimated 300,000 workers died during its entire construction period.
9. Many of the workers who died during the construction of the walls were buried inside the walls. Thus, it is sometimes called the longest cemetery of the world.
10. The great wall crosses through ten provinces and cities of china. The most popular sections of the wall include Badaling, Mutianyu, Simata, Jinshanling, Jiankou, Huanghuachen and many more.
11. It was officially named “the great wall of China” at the end of the 19th century. Before that, it was called “the Chinese Wall” by the non-Chinese. In China, it is known as “changcheng” meaning the long wall. It has also been given some poetic names like “Purple Frontier” and “Earth Dragon”.
12. One of the most important Great Wall of China Facts is that the popular myth that the Great Wall of China is visible from the moon is not true. In fact, it is not visible from more than 100 miles above ground. The astronomers who claim to have seen it from the outer space is now believed to have seen something else.
13. The first European to explore the Wall was a Portuguese explorer named Bento de Gois. He visited the Wall in 1605 and that’s when the European first learned about the Great Wall. However, the Arabs knew about the Great Wall as early as the 14th century.
14. According to many guidebooks, the appropriate time to visit the Beijing sections of the Wall is during the spring or autumn, The Shanhai Pass during summer times and early autumn and the Jiayu Pass from May to October.
15. Nearly 10 million people visit the Great Wall of China every year. It was included in the UNESCO’s list of the world’s great national and historical sites in 1987. It is the most popular landmark in China.
These are some of the key Great Wall of China facts that you should know if you want to visit this iconic structure of China.
Author: Tajirul Haque
Tajirul Haque is a travel enthusiast and freelance travel writer on Upwork. Having written hundreds of travel articles on so many travel destinations around the world for his clients, Tajirul started Top Travel Lists back in September 2014. Travel writing is his passion and he always loves to write about a new destination as it allows him to know about more beautiful places the planet has to offer. He is always available for freelance travel writing opportunities.