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  • Badaling Great Wall, Beijing
    Badaling Great Wall, Beijing
  • Simatai Great Wall
    Simatai Great Wall
  • Shandan Great Wall, Gansu
    Shandan Great Wall, Gansu
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 Fast Facts

Chinese Name: 长城 (cháng chéng)
Alternative Name: 万里长城 (wàn li cháng chéng)
Meaning in English: Long Wall
Location: China's Great Wall stretches across great swaths of Northern China, starting from Jiayuguan Pass of Gansu Province in the west, crossing through Gansu, Ningxia, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei and Liaoning provinces, and finally ending at Hushan Mountain in Liaoning Province in the east.
Most Popular Sections: Badaling, Mutianyu, Simatai, Jinshanling, Jiayuguan, Shanhaiguan
Best Time to Visit: Spring and Autumn, especially May, September and October
Well-known Chinese Idiom: 'He who has never been to the Great Wall is not a true man'.

Famed as 'One of the Great Wonders in the World Architecture History', it is a military defensive project. Its construction took the longest time and the largest amount of work in the world. It is like a huge dragon lying across the deserts, grasslands, mountains and plateaus in China's northern border. It's also regarded as the crystal of wisdom of the ancient Chinese, the witness of the long Chinese history, the gem of the Chinese civilization, and the symbol of the Chinese nation. According to historical records, more than 20 kingdoms and feudal dynasties had built the wall since the Warring States Period (476 - 221 BC). However, those built earlier have all but disappeared or in ruins. Only those built in the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644) have been well preserved and open to visitors. 


 How long is the wall?
The present Wall extant starts from the Jiayuguan Pass in the west and ends at the Hushan Mountain in the east, spreading approximately 8,851.8 kilometers (5,500 miles) in total. 

 What is the height of the wall? 
The average height of is 7.8 meters (25.6 feet), with certain parts as high as 14 meters (46 feet).

 How wide is it?
It measures around 6.5 meters (7.1 yards) wide at the base and averages 5.8 meters (6.3 yards) at the top.

 Why was it built? 
It was built to defend against invasion from the northern nomadic tribes, barbarians and other potential threats from beyond the northern border. 

 Who built the Wall?
Generally speaking, soldiers, criminals, peasants and conscription built it under the order of the sovereign rulers. 

 How many people were made to built the  Wall? How many of them died on the worksite?
Tens of thousands of people. During the construction, a great number of people died because of the heavy work and poor working environment, but there is no recorded number of deaths.

 When was it built?
The Chu State (11th Century BC-223BC) during the Warring States Period was the first to build the wall, followed by the Qi, Yan, Wei, Zhao and Qin states who built their own walls at their respective northern border. Later, Emperor Qinshihuang had the sections joined together after the unification of the six states. Thereafter, the wall received varying degrees of extension, repair and modification during the following dynasties, such as Han (206 BC-220 AD), Sui (581-618), Jin (1115-1234) and Ming (1368-1644). 

 How long did it take to build the wall?
The construction lasted over 2,000 years, ranging from the Warring States Period to the Ming Dynasty. 

 What materials were used?
Owing to its location on the steep cliffs, over deep chasms and in the Gobi deserts, it was usually built with whatever materials could be found nearby, such as earth, stones, reeds and sand. Mountain ridges, cliffs, lakes and other natural barriers were also taken advantage of to form part of the wall. Then in the Ming Dynasty, bricks, tiles and lime were heavily used to renovate and strengthen many areas of the wall. 

 What are the main structures?
They are passes, beacon towers, watch towers, Wengcheng, Luocheng, battlements, platforms, nü qiang (parapet), ma dao (horse road), drainage system, gates and more. 

 Which international celebrities have visited the wall?
Chairman Mao Zedong, Chinese Democratic Pioneer Dr. Sun Yat-sen, American President Richard Nixon, former Joint Head of State of the USSR Kliment Yefremovich Voroshilov, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Margaret Thatcher, and other 370 international dignitaries and celebrities have left their footprints on Badaling. 

 Is it visible from space?
Theoretically speaking, it is absolutely impossible. Astronauts, like Yang Liwei, Neil Alden Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, confirmed that it is invisable from space. The first space tourist Dennis Tito also confirmed this. Some experts even confirmed it scientifically: it is hard to be distinguished at a height of 20 km (65,616.7 feet), and will be out of sight at an altitude of 60 km (196,850); seeing the wall on the moon equals seeing a single strand of hair from 2,688 meters (2,939.6 yards) away, which is impossible!

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