Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China was built over 2,000 years ago, by Qin Shi Huangdi, the first emperor of China during the Qin (Ch’in) Dynasty (221 B.C – 206 B.C.). In Chinese the wall is called “Wan-Li Qang-Qeng” which means 10,000-Li Long Wall (10,000 Li = about 5,000 km).After subjugating and uniting China from seven Warring States, the emperor connected and extended four old fortification walls along the north of China that originated about 700 B.C. (over 2500 years ago). Armies were stationed along the wall as a first line of defence against the invading nomadic Hsiung Nu tribes north of China (the Huns). Signal fires from the Wall provided early warning of an attack.The Great Wall is one of the largest building construction projects ever completed. It stretches across the mountains of northern China, winding north and northwest of Beijing. It is constructed of masonry, rocks and packed-earth. It was over 5,000 km (=10,000 Li) long. Its thickness ranged from about 4.5 to 9 meters (15 to 30 feet) and was up to 7.5 meters (25 feet) tall.During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the Great Wall was enlarged to 6,400 kilometres (4,000 miles) and renovated over a 200 year period, with watch-towers and cannons added.The Great Wall can be seen from Earth orbit, but, contrary to legend, is not visible from the moon, according to astronauts Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell, and Jim Irwin.The Great Wall of China was built mainly to protect the Chinese Empire from the Mongolians and other invaders. It was first built in the Seventh Century BC when China was still divided into many small states. The construction of the Great Wall never ceased during nearly all the Chinese feudal dynasties.The Great Wall of China extends 4,000 miles (6,400 km) westward from the seaside town of Shanhaiguan to Gansu Province.The majestic Great Wall was built with wisdom, dedication, blood, sweat and tears. It has been estimated that somewhere in the range of two to three million Chinese died as part of the centuries-long project of building the wall.Nearly everyone has heard of the Great Wall of China. As one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in China, The Great Wall is not just a wall, but a symbol of the bravery and wisdom of the Chinese people.Before the use of bricks, the Great Wall was mainly built from Earth or Taipa, stones, and wood.During the Ming Dynasty, however, bricks were heavily used in many areas of the wall, as were materials such as tiles, lime, and stone. The size and weight of the bricks made them easier to work with than earth and stone, so construction quickened. Additionally, bricks could bear more weight and endure better than rammed earth. Stone can hold under its own weight better than brick, but is more difficult to use. Consequently, stones cut in rectangular shapes were used for the foundation, inner and outer brims, and gateways of the wall. Battlements line the uppermost portion of the vast majority of the wall, with defensive gaps a little over 30 cm (one foot) tall and about 23 cm (9 inches) wide.There are some great tours to China, including the Great Wall, arranged by Complete India & Asia – www.complete-india-asia.com

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