The Great Wall of China: 10 Interesting Facts

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  • The total length of the Great Wall is 21196.18 km

The Great Wall of China is the world’s largest man-made structure. The entire route stretches over 20,000 kilometers from the east coast to the west desert of northern China, twisting up and down like a dragon across mountains and plateaus.

  • It took over 2,000 years to construct the wall

Qin Shi Huang, China’s first emperor, combined the ruins of previous fortresses, walls, and earthworks into a single wall around 220 B.C. The “First Pier of the Great Wall,” built with rammed loess in 1539 A.D., may be seen in this photograph.

  • Various materials were used to build the Great Wall

The Great Wall is a gigantic structure made of many materials. The majority of the sections visible today were constructed using bricks and cut stone blocks, with lime mortar used to hold the bricks together. Where bricks and blocks were not accessible, native materials such as tamped soil, uncut stones, and wood were employed.

  • An ancient tale of love: the legend of lady Mengjiang

It is one of ancient China’s four famous love legends. The spouse of Lady Mengjiang was dispatched to build the Great Wall and never returned. She left to bring him winter clothing, only to learn that he had already died. She sobbed so hard that a section of the wall gave way.

  • It is Chinese people’s greatest cultural icon

The Great Wall is a feat of engineering that took countless labors over 2,000 years to complete. It also reflected the clashes and exchanges that took place between agricultural and nomadic cultures.

  • The eastern beginning in the sea: Shanhai Pass

Shanhai Pass, the first pass in East China, was created during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644). It is 305 kilometres from Beijing and located outside of Qinhuangdao on Bohai Bay. It’s dubbed the “First Pass Under Heaven” because of its strategic location.

  • The western end in the Gobi Desert: Jiayu Pass

Jiayu Pass is known for being the Ming Dynasty’s first frontier fortification at the western end of the Great Wall of China. Jiayu Pass is one of the most well-preserved passes on the Great Wall, among the hundreds that exist.

  • It is not a wall but a series of fortifications

The Great Wall is not a single-structured wall; it is made up of beacon towers, barriers, barracks, garrison stations, and fortifications that constitute a cohesive defense system.

  • There are 15 strategic passes from the East to the West

From the Bohai Sea in the east to the Gobi Desert in the west, the Great Wall runs over 15 northern Chinese provinces, towns, and autonomous entities. Along the route, there are 15 strategically significant passes.

  • The workers from ancient times left marks on the bricks

Some claim that the words on the bricks are a system established by General Qi Jiguang to judge the quality of the troops’ bricks and to clarify responsibilities. Historians, however, questioned this.

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