The Great Wall of China belongs to the Wonders of the World.
Long ago at around 476bc, Chinese workers began to build the Great Wall of China high up along China’s mountain tops. Several emperors ordered the wall to be extended during their rule, using bricks, stone, earth and sand but most of the wall was built and completed during the reign of Emperor Ming (1368–1644ad). In fact, when it was finally finished, the wall was so long that it stretched a whopping 13,170 miles across the width of Northern China!
So why was it built? Two reasons! Firstly, to protect China from invaders coming from the North. To do this, the wall had to be very high and the average height is around 8 meters. A tower was built every 500 meters along the wall for guards to shoot arrows down upon attackers. Tough fortresses were put up along its weaker sections where lookouts would use flags, smoke and fire signals to warn other guards further along the wall of danger. In later times, the wall was made longer to protect the Silk Road trade routes whereby long caravans of travelers would journey overland to far off kingdoms, in order to go trade their valuable silk and other goods.
Protecting the wall
Nowadays, the wall is a hugely popular tourist attraction with ten million visitors each year! Visiting The Great Wall of China is important for Chinese culture and tourism. However, mother nature and all that foot traffic walking along it, means that parts of the wall have started to crumble away. The Chinese government is taking big steps to conserve the wall for future visitors. However, it’s important for visitors themselves to do their bit to help, by not scribbling on the wall, taking their rubbish away with them and leaving the wall as it is — without taking chunks of it home for a souvenir!
The greatest cemetery on Earth?
The Great Wall has earned this gruesome nickname because it’s thought more than 11 million workers died building it. As such, there are many strange legends surrounding its history. One famous story tells of a heartbroken young woman named Men Jiangnu whose husband died helping build the wall, leaving his body trapped inside. After many days of weeping beside the spot where he died, the section of the wall collapsed to reveal his body and Men Jiangnu was able to give him a proper burial.
By Deborah L. Caine (Whyzz writer)