The Great Wall of China

Situated in Northern China, the Great Wall of China is an old series of fortifications and walls that were built more than 2,300 years ago.

It was constructed in different areas by distinctive states or dynasties to safeguard unique territorial boundaries.

The total length of the Great Wall is 21,196.18 km (13,170.7 mi). The Chinese government announced this on June 5th, 2012. They did a survey and measured it. This is the first occasion that China has scientifically measured the entire length of the Great Wall.”

Great Wall of China Facts for Kids

  • The Great Wall is made up of more than 7,000 lookout towers.
  • The total length of the Great Wall is 21,196.18 km (13,170.7 mi)
  • In parts, the Great Wall is 25 feet tall and it varies from 15 to 30 feet in width.
  • The original wall was started by Emperor Qin over 2000 years ago
  • The Wall was built to help protect China from northern tribes, such as the Mongols.
  • More than 300,000 soldiers and over 500,000 people helped to build the wall
  • The wheelbarrow was among the primary tools that were used to carry materials in the construction of the Great Wall.
  • It stretches through 15 regions in Northern China including Beijing, Inner Mongolia, Qinghai, Heilongjiang, Tianjin, Jilin, Shandong, Shanxi, Liaoning, Hebei, Xinjiang, Gansu, Shaanxi, and Gansu.
  • The Great Wall suffered huge man-made damage at the height of the Cultural Revolution. Some areas of the wall were destroyed or vandalized to provide a way for infrastructure construction.
  • The Great Wall is considered one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. It is also the longest man-made architecture in the world.
  • While the best-preserved areas were built during the Ming dynasty, several historians believe that the fortifications of the Great Wall began as early as 7thcentury B.C.
  • During the peak of the Ming dynasty, it is estimated that at least one million soldiers guarded the Great Wall.

According to numerous historians, the Great Wall of China was built by a Qi State duke to avert invasion from other states.

The first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, subsequently connected the sections of the Long Wall on China’s northern border during the Qin dynasty which spanned from 221 B.C.E. to 207 B.C.E.

In addition, Emperor Han Wudi of the Han dynasty expanded the Great Wall to the Yumen Pass during 206 B.C. to help protect the trade of silk cloth.

The Ming dynasty restored the condition of the Great Wall by using stones from the period of 1368 to 1644. Unlike the Ming, Qin, or Han dynasties, the Emperors of the Qing dynasty did nothing to build the Great Wall.

In fact, most people were prohibited to visit the area. In modern times, the reconstruction of the Great Wall started in 1957.

The Great Wall in 1907

When the Qin Shi Huang became the emperor (221 to 206 BC), he united the seven kingdoms of China into one country. He also extended the Great Wall to protect against Huns.

The most well-known section of the wall is the one between Jiayuguan and Shanhaiguan in the Qinhuangdao area. This section is known as the “Great Wall at Jiayuguan Pass”.  Other popular sections like Mutianyu, Badaling, Simatai, and Jinshanling are located only 1 to 2 hours from Beijing.

When did the Great Wall become a World Heritage Site?

The Great Wall of China was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1987.

What was the purpose of the Great Wall?

During the old times, the Great Wall served as a cohesive military defensive system for the Chinese.

It was consists of fortresses for logistics and command posts as well as beacon towers for communications and watchtowers for surveillance. Presently, about 30 percent of the Great Wall is gone due to human damage and natural erosion.

What are the materials used to build the Great Wall?

The iconic Great Wall was constructed with wisdom, sweat, dedication, tears, and blood. It is believed that many workers had died in the construction of the wall.

Normally, the workforce was made up of rebels, peasants, and soldiers who have expertise in using different materials such as brick, sand, stone, and soil (Earth).

The Great Wall of Han Dynasty

What is the Ming Great Wall consists of?

The Ming Great Wall was comprised of battlements that are 1.8 meters high and parapet walls that are as high as 1.2 meters.

Likewise, it also featured flanking towers that are located in the face of the wall. The flanking towers enabled defenders to efficiently shoot arrows at their attackers.