What Is the Great Wall of China?
More than two thousand years ago, the Chinese emperor Qin Shih Huang Ti decided to build a huge wall to keep out his enemies. It came to be called the Great Wall of China. Hundreds of thousands of workers built the wall from earth, brick, and stone.
The work continued, off and on, for hundreds of years. The various sections of the wall were finally connected during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644).
When it was finished, the wall reached as high as a three-story building and stretched more than 5,500 miles across northern China, winding over mountains and through valleys.
The wall was really a fortification to protect the northern border. It was a wall, but also had watchtowers, beacon towers to send signals, and blockhouses to house soldiers. There were soldiers guarding the walls and towers.
There were also towns built along the wall to garrison soldiers so they could quickly get to the wall in case of a large attack. It is estimated that over 1 million soldiers guarded the great wall during the height of the Ming Dynasty.
Fun Facts about the Great Wall of China
• There are over 7,000 lookout towers that are part of the Great Wall.
• Today the walls continue to erode, however historians are trying to protect what sections they can.
• The height and width of the wall varies over its length. The current wall built by the Ming Dynasty averages around 33 feet tall and 15 feet wide.
• It is the longest man made structure in the world.
• Wide moats were often dug outside the wall in flat areas to make an enemies approach more difficult.
• Smoke signals were used to indicate an attack. The more enemies that were attacking, the more smoke signals they would make.
• It was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
• Many people say that the Great Wall can be seen from the Moon without aid. However, this is just a myth.
• The wheelbarrow, which the Chinese invented, no doubt was a great help in building much of the wall.
• The wall extends through all sorts of terrain, even into the mountains. Its highest point is over 5,000 feet above sea level.