Great Wall (World Heritage)
The wall, which is around 6,700 km long in northern China, according to zipcodesexplorer, is the largest protective wall and the longest structure in the world. It consists of a system of several sections, some of which are not connected to one another, and has been used over the centuries since the 3rd century BC. Created to protect the people from the cavalry nomads invading from the north. The wall begins at Jiayuguan in Gansu in the west and ends at the Gulf of Liaodong in the east. She crossed the Hwangho twice and split into two arms to protect Beijing.
Great Wall: facts
|Official title:||Great Wall|
|Cultural monument:||huge protective wall originally more than 6000 km long, including Touristic sections of the wall at the Juyong Pass near Badaling, north of Beijing, with the so-called “cloud terrace” from the 14th century and fire signal towers, as well as a 10 km long wall section at Jinshanling with 67 signal towers, barracks and warehouses and other restored wall sections at Simatai and Mutianyu, huge defensive bulwark with once up to 2500 watchtowers|
|Country:||China, Gansu and Hebei provinces|
|Location:||north of Beijing, extending from the western part of Gansu Province to the Gulf of Bo|
|Meaning:||the longest defense system in the world and symbol of the “Middle Kingdom”|
Great Wall: history
|around 220 BC Chr.||under Qin Shi Huangdi (reign 221-210 BC) a closed defensive belt against invaders from the north was built|
|1345||Construction of the “Cloud Terrace”, a tunnel gate with inscriptions in Sanskrit, Tibetan, Mongolian, Uyghur, Chinese and Tangu|
|1368-1644||most massive defensive structure in the world at the time of the Ming Dynasty|
|1957||Restoration of part of the Great Wall near Badaling|
|1985||Restoration of the Great Wall at Mutianyu, some more than 10 m high and 5 m wide|
The symbol of the “yellow empire”
As early as the 3rd century BC, the first emperor began to convert existing walls between the principalities that had just been conquered into a system of walls against the horsemen in the north, a system that was expanded over the centuries. Initially, the defense system consisted of earth walls, piled boulders and wooden palisade walls. The way visitors see this longest structure on earth today, it dates from the time of the Ming Dynasty, which came to power after the defeat of the Mongols. In the 13th century the sons of the steppe had extended their influence south and west and ruled large parts of the Eurasian continent before a Chinese finally sat on the throne again as emperor. Now a particularly solid bulwark was built – and this is not surprising – against those “barbarians of the north.” However, it can no longer be confirmed today that walls with an extension of more than 50,000 km were gradually built.
The Great Wall was intended as an “anti-barbaric protective wall” that closed off the “Middle Kingdom”, as it called itself, from the outside and secured the northern border. The “Sons of Heaven” were not only delimited on the outside, but also on the inside: Walls surrounded the cities and divided city quarters from one another, while each family surrounded their courtyard with its own wall. Even the Chinese character “cheng” is used for both “wall” and “city”. In contrast to the “blue”, southern China facing the sea, the “yellow empire”, the imperial China, arrested in the loess soil south of the wall, looked inward, creating a self-isolation from which it could only seldom and with great difficulty break free.
As with the city walls, the drum and bell towers in the cities, only the outer cladding of the Great Wall consists of rubble stones, which, however, can be over a meter thick. The space in between was filled with rubble, tamped earth and other materials. It sounds extremely macabre when you learn that the soldiers who died during the construction, the peasants who were forced to work or the work slaves who succumbed to the rigors of erecting the huge masonry also had to serve as filler material. Only through the hard labor of hundreds of thousands, who had to toil with bare hands or simple tools in every season, could this work of the century be completed at all.
Depending on the terrain profile to which the bulwark adapts optimally, the wall grew to a height of three to eight meters. From the foot of the wall, which was seven meters wide, the “weir made of stone” tapered to a width of four to six meters up to the crown; the battlements measured two meters on the outside and one meter on the inside. Within sight of each other, twelve-meter-high towers towered up, in which weapons and ammunition were stored and which served as accommodation for the soldiers on duty.
But the Great Wall was also an important communication system. Soldiers moved on it, even on horses, much faster than in the surrounding rough terrain. From tower to tower, messages were passed on with flags during the day and with fires at night. For this reason, ruins of signal towers can still be found in the hinterland, which maintained the connection to the fortresses further inland.
One question, however, is difficult to answer: How long is the Great Wall, which – correctly translated from Chinese – should actually be called “Long Wall”? The assumptions differ widely, as it was actually a system of walls, large parts of which have fallen into ruin. It cannot even be measured from the moon, since it is not visible from there – despite repeated claims; in spite of its enormous size, viewed from space it resembles only a thin dashed line. Some historians report 10,000 li, which is a little over 5000 km; Most researchers today, however, assume more than 6000 km – an extremely powerful symbol of seclusion.