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The Great Wall of China is one of the most famous historical megastructures and the world's longest structure created by man, even bigger than the pyramids and other colossal constructions. Despite a popular claim to the contrary, it is not visible from the Moon, although it is barely visible from near earth orbit.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Great Wall of China is a protected space that has gained even more fame over the past decade because of international efforts to preserve sections that are falling into disrepair. Vandalism is one of the reasons the wall has suffered enormously over the past two decades. Local sellers often pick it apart to sell the parts to tourists.
The Great Wall of China was started inn the 5th century BC by the Qin Dynasty to protect the kingdom from attacks by the Xiongnu people. However, by the time construction started, there were already numerous towers and fortifications already standing. The construction of the wall was meant to join the different forts into one long structure and it took centuries to complete. Started, stopped, demolished, and rebuilt along the way, the Great Wall of China as it stands today was finished in the 16th century.
The structure is 4,000 miles (6,400 km) long and up to 26 feet (8 meters) in height. It has many watchtowers and towers along its length. The most popular sections with tourists are the ones near Beijing, especially Juyongguan pass and the Mutianyu Great Wall. The Shanhaiguan Great Wall, built as a bridge, is another popular stop for tourists walking along the wall. Most of it is constructed of bricks, although early parts are made of stones, earth, and tiles. To modern visitors, it looks remarkably similar along its length, but this is mostly due to the effect of wind erosion on the surface of the wall.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Great Wall of China?
The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications made of stone, brick, tamped earth, wood, and other materials, generally built along an east-to-west line across the historical northern borders of China to protect the Chinese states and empires against the raids and invasions of the various nomadic groups of the Eurasian Steppe. It is the longest wall in the world and an enduring symbol of Chinese strength and resilience.
How long is the Great Wall of China?
The Great Wall of China is approximately 21,196 kilometers (13,171 miles) long, according to a 2012 archaeological survey conducted by China's State Administration of Cultural Heritage and the National Bureau of Surveying and Mapping. This length includes all the walls, trenches, and natural defensive barriers like hills and rivers.
When was the Great Wall of China built?
Construction of the Great Wall began in the 7th century BC, with various walls being built by different states. The most well-known sections were built by the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644 AD). Over the centuries, the Wall was expanded and reinforced by various dynasties to defend against invasions.
Why was the Great Wall of China built?
The primary purpose of the Great Wall of China was to protect Chinese states and empires from the invasions and raids of the various nomadic groups from the north. It also served to control immigration and emigration, and was instrumental in imposing duties on goods transported along the Silk Road, thus becoming a key factor in trade and regulation.
Can you see the Great Wall of China from space?
Despite popular belief, the Great Wall of China is not visible from the moon with the naked eye. Astronauts have reported that it is barely visible, and only under certain conditions, from low Earth orbit. The notion that it can be seen from the moon is a myth.
What are some interesting facts about the Great Wall of China?
The Great Wall of China has a rich history with many interesting facts. For instance, it is not a continuous line but a collection of walls and fortifications. Some parts of the Wall are known for their architectural grandeur, while others are simple but equally effective barriers. It is also home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, some of which are endemic to the region.
How is the Great Wall of China being preserved?
Preservation efforts for the Great Wall of China are ongoing and multifaceted. The Chinese government has enacted laws to protect the Wall, and UNESCO listed it as a World Heritage site in 1987. Restoration projects are frequently undertaken, although some sections remain in disrepair due to their remote location and the vastness of the Wall. International collaboration and sustainable tourism practices are also part of the preservation strategy.