The Great Wall of China was built over 2,000 years ago. Started by Qin Shi Huangdi who was the first emperor of China. It was a first line of defense against invading states or tribes. Over the years other emperors and rulers have added to it. The Great Wall is an engineering marvel and one of the most appealing world attractions due to its historical and architectural significance.
Many claims have been made that the wall is visible from the moon but this is simply not true. Trivial Pursuit even has a question based around this urban legend with the wrong answer.
It may be possible to be able to see it from the earth's orbit in perfect viewing conditions, if one knows exactly where to look.
The Great Wall is actually made up of a number of interconnecting walls spanning China that different dynasties constructed over the 2,000 years.
One of the most popular spots for Chinese tour groups is the Badaling Section, it is the closest to Beijing and has been open since 1957.
Records reported that at least one million slaves and prisoners of war were used to build this wall. Many died from exhaustion and starvation while working and their bodies were added to the masonry as the quickest means of disposal. For centuries, the Wall was known as "the longest cemetery in the world." It has been said that every foot of the construction of this Great Wall cost one human life.
An exact answer is hard to get for this question. The Chinese call it the Wall of 10,000 li (a li is a third of a mile). Overall, the wall extends about 4,000 miles. The wall is so vast that it winds its way across grasslands, deserts and mountains. It is more than 7 meters high and 5 meters wide.
Only when weakness in the government, not of the wall, happened did both the Mongols and the Manchurians take power. They took advantage of rebellion from within and stepped into the void of power without extended wars.
Not just a wall, but also platforms were built every 300 to 500 meters along the wall that served a variety of purposes from posting patrols and sentries to serve as observation posts.
There are more than 10,000 watchtowers and beacon towers on the Great Wall. Also as battle platforms for offensive actions and weapon storage. At some spots there are small holes for observation and shooting arrows. There are also special openings to insert flags for display or signal transmission.
In its early stages the real value came in the way it eased transportation throughout the land and acting as a kind of elevated thruway, equipment, goods and passengers could more easily traverse the mountainous wilderness that enveloped the Great Wall.
Before the use of bricks, the Great Wall was mainly built from earth, stones, and wood. Sometimes packed earth was used in between board that was then tied together with woven mats.
Near Beijing the wall is constructed from quarried limestone blocks. In other locations it may be quarried granite or fired brick. Many western sections of the wall are constructed from mud, rather than brick and stone, and thus are more susceptible to erosion.
The Great Wall that can still be seen today was built during the Ming Dynasty, on a much larger scale and with longer lasting materials such as solid stone used for the sides and the top of the Wall.
In early 2004 a conservation report on the Great Wall shows that only one third of the 6,350 kilometers of wall now exists and the length is still shortening. The lack of awareness of conservation is a serious threat as many farmers living by the wall are oblivious to declarations that that the Great Wall is under state protection.
In the 1950s Chinese leader Mao Zedong exhorted the masses to "allow the past to serve the present" and farmers were mobilized to demolish parts of the wall and use the bricks for building houses, pigpens, and walls.
Having made a coat to protect her husband from the northern cold, she found that her husband had died while helping to construct the wall, and was entombed under the Great Wall.
She cried with so much sorrow that heavens took pity on her and a section of the wall then broke off, exposing her husband’s remains so she could offer him a decent burial. She then took her own life by drowning to join her husband in the afterlife.
A temple was erected at Shanghaiguan to honor this lady, though there is no historically authenticated person of her name. Her story apparently appeared during the Tang Dynasty.
In 2005 during a sponsored event the skateboarder Danny Way, 31 from California, steamed down a massive ramp at 50 mph and flew across the Great Wall of China becoming the first un-motorized person to clear the wall. He made the jump five times in front of a crowd of several thousand Chinese dignitaries and officials. The event was not open to the general public. Two years earlier Wang Jiaxiong from northwest China's Shaanxi province fell to his death while trying to jump over the Great Wall on his bike.
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