What will be the first thing to pop up in our mind whenever it comes to China? The Silk road is not the answer I bet. Rather, it will be the Great Wall of the China. The Great Wall is the longest wall ever built in the human history. In this day and age, the Great Wall is also one of the most famous tourist attraction in China. Beside the long and complicated history, you are to expect the breath-taking and wonderful scenery from the Great Wall. Below are some facts about the Great Wall of China that you are yet to know.
It took 2,000 years to construct the Great Wall
During the 8th and 5th century BC, the first parts of the Great Wall came into being in the spring and autumn. The main material of this time was the stamping earth and gravel. People of this time construct the wall to defend themselves against the sword, spears, and other attacks of weapons. In 221 BC when China was unified as the Qin Dynasty by Qin Shui Huang, this emperor ordered to destroy several parts of the walls. Later, he ordered to construct the new walls that connected the remaining walls.
The Wall proved itself as the standing frontier defending the Qin’s land against the northern enemies. Because of the mountains and cliffs, the materials to construct each parts of the Wall varied from parts to parts. Local materials were used as many as possible. For example, for the spots on the mountains, the main materials were the stones from the mountains. The parts in the plains would be constructed with the rammed earth instead.
Later dynasties continued to construct the Great Wall of China: repairing and rebuilding. The Ming Dynasty from the 14th and 17th century brought back the concept of Great Wall of China. During this time, the Ming emperor required to build the Wall even stronger and more subtle with bricks and stones. Up to 25,000 was the number of the total watchtowers in the Great Wall. The following Qing dynasty ceased to build the Great Wall because the territory of this dynasty reached beyond the Great Wall.
The Wall is not a continuous wall. Rather, it is a series of walls.
It is a misunderstanding that the Great Wall of China is a single wall. In fact, the Great Wall is a collection of many walls from the east to the west of China. The series of Walls were erected from dynasty to dynasty. So note that the Great Wall is not the uninterrupted long wall.
The Great Wall is the longest man-made structure in the planet
While the title tallest man-made building belongs to the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Great Wall of China deserves the longest man-made structure. No one could ever tell the exact length of the Wall in the ancient time. A study carried out in 2012 by China’s State Administration of Cultural Heritage claimed that the Wall reaches approximately 13,200 miles long (~21,243km)
The Great Wall is not the Seven World Wonders in the Ancient Time
Many people assume that the Great Wall has a room in the Seven World Wonders from the beginning. But it is not just right. Because the name “Great Wall” only appears in the Seven World Wonders of the Medieval time. Six out of the original Seven World Wonders of the Ancient time disappeared and only the Great Pyramid of Giza is the last wonder standing in the universe.
Whether the Great Wall is visible from the moon is a myth
The myth that that the Great Wall could be observed from the Moon with naked eyes is false. This myth originated 2 centuries ago the time of which no human could set a foot on the surface of the Moon. It first appeared in 1754 in the Family Memories by William Stukeley an English antiquary and physician. Many times the scholars refuted this theory of William. However, this has become the deeply ingrained belief in the modern culture. And of course, no astronauts who ever set their foot on the Moon claimed they saw the Great Wall from the Moon.
What remains a mystery is that if the Great Wall is visible from the low Earth orbit or not. Though NASA claims that the Wall is hardly visible from that point, many people still discuss this matter.
The Great Wall of China is the longest cemetery on Earth
Any great construction of the world must come at the cost of human lives. The human cost of the wall construction is very huge. The most common number of death toll that we might found on the Internet was 1 million people. The archaeologists have found human remains somewhere under the parts of the Great Wall. The exact number of course remains a mystery for most of the materials of the Great Wall lost or might have been distorted by the historians who wanted the created the flow of the history for the good of their clan.
The Wall has many variations of its name
The names of the Great Wall vary from time to time and from region to region. In China, the Wall experienced the name of “Long Wall” (长城 Chang cheng), “The 10,000-Li-Long Wall”, “The Long Wall of 10,000 Li” (萬里長城 Wan Li Chang Cheng). “Li” is one of the common units to measure the distance in China. One Chinese Li is as one third long as one mile. Another names for the Wall include: the Outer Fortress, the Earth Dragon, The Long Wall, etc.
The standard English name of the Wall is the Great Wall of China that we already know. Some of the Europeans call it the Chinese Wall.