The Great Wall of China was built around 2250 years ago to protect the residents of the empire from potential attacks of other armies. As early as the Spring and Autumn Period, the state of Chu (11th Century BC-223BC) started to build the first wall. The Qi, Yan, Wei, Zhao and Qin states later joined the effort. After Emperor Qin Shihuang unified the six states, he ordered General Meng Tian to connect the existing walls and to extend them further as a front-line defense against possible invasion. Thus, the Great Wall was formed. It extended from Lintao (presently Lintao County in Dingxi City of Gansu Province) in the west and ended at Liaodong (presently the eastern and southern parts of Liaoning Province) in the east. It was called “Wan Li Chang Cheng” (The Long Wall of 10,000 Li). Here are a few facts about the Great Wall of China that you probably didn’t know;[irp]
1-Around a million people died during the building and construction of the Wall, which has made the wall earn the title of the Longest Cemetery on Earth. Archaeologists have confirmed this by excavating human remains from under the wall.
2-Even though the official length of the great wall is 8851.8 kilometers or 5500 miles, the length of the complete Great Wall which was built over thousands of years is estimated to be around 21,186 kilometers, while the circumference of the earth is 40,075 kilometers.
3-Contrary to popular belief, the Great Wall of China cannot be viewed from space with the naked eye. However, with the aid of a scope, it can be seen.
4-Glutinous flour made of rice was used to make the binding agent for the bricks, as early as the Qin Dynasty, when the great wall was being built. (221-207 BC)
5-The section of the Great Wall of China which has become the poster image associated by all of us as the Great Wall of China was built in the Ming Dynasty. This part of the wall was built last, and bricks were used to make tall towers.
6-The Great Wall of China faces a great threat from erosion. The section in the Northwest i.e. the Ningxia provinces or Gansu are rapidly deteriorating, which has led many to believe that this entire section may disappear in about 20 years. This has been caused partly by nature and partly by humans.
7-The Great Wall of China is host to over 10 million people who pay homage to the great wonder of the world every year. The best and most famous section of the Great Wall, which is Badaling, has been visited by around 300 presidents, prime ministers and other VIPs from all over the world. The first of whom were the Soviets. However, it is also the busiest section of the wall which garners the most tourist attraction. If you are an explorer and not a tourist, it is strongly recommended you do not go to this section.
8-During the time of the Cultural Revolution in 1966 to 1976, many bricks were taken from the great wall to build homes, reservoirs or farms. If this had not happened, then the wall would be in much better shape today.
9-In some places, the Great Wall is so wide, that you can drive a car over it, without worrying about getting stuck.
10-The last point may as well be the best-known legend about the wall. It is believed that one of the men who was building the wall had died in it, and the wife of the man wept so hard that the entire area collapsed, revealing her husband’s bones, which she then took and buried. This story has become famous as the story of “Men Jiangnu’s Bitter Weeping”