The Great Wall Of China: The Longest Construction In The World
The Great Wall of China is both the longest man-made structure in the world and one of the country's main tourist attractions. The historical and strategic importance of this gigantic military structure, as well as its architectural value, have earned it a place on UNESCO's World Heritage List.
The Great Wall of China (whose name in Chinese literally means the 'long wall') refers to a set of military fortifications built in several stages between the 5th century BC and the 16th century.
This military work, which is the largest man-made architectural structure in length, area and mass, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.
History of the Great Wall
It was around 220 BC that Qin Shin Huang set about linking the existing sections of fortifications to form a coherent system of defense against invasions from the north. The purpose of these fortifications was to mark and defend China's northern border.
The construction of the Great Wall of China continued into the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), resulting in the world's largest military engineering work.
Note: The portion of the fortifications built during the Ming Dynasty is generally referred to as the 'Great Wall'. This portion connects the Shanhai Strait (on the banks of the Yalu River) in the east to Jiayuguan in the west.
A gigantic defence system
The Great Wall of China is not just a wall, but is a complete defense system consisting of several walls, Towers of lookout and Towers of signal fire.
An estimated one million soldiers were deployed along the Great Wall to defend the border.
The size of the Walls varied according to the characteristics of the topography: thus, in the plains and strategic passages, the Walls were very high and solid, while they were lower and narrower in the high and steep mountains.
The Great Wall in figures
The length of the Great Wall of China is about 6700 km. Today, many segments, with a total length of about 1000 kilometers, are buried underground.
In Chinese, it is nicknamed 'the long wall of ten thousand li'.
This expression can be understood in the literal sense (6700 km is equivalent to 13,400 li) or in the symbolic sense because the number ten thousand symbolizes infinity in Chinese.
These fortifications are between 5 and 17 meters high and on average 4 to 5 meters wide. Some impressive portions can be seen near Beijing, the capital.
The Great Wall is also one of the few monuments visible from space.
Below is a link to videos of the wall on the UNESCO website.