The Great Wall of China: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about the Great Wall of China.

  • The Great Wall of China is a stone wall that stretches across much of northern China near Mongolia. From Lop Lake in the west, to Shanhaiguan in the east, the wall measures 8,850 km.
  • It was originally built between about 221 BC and 206 BC to keep Mongol tribes out of the Chinese Empire. During the Ming Dynasty, from 1388 to 1644 Ad, major improvements were made.
  • It is estimated that over a million workers died during the wall’s construction. The families of those who died would place a white rooster on the grave to keep the dead person’s spirit awake.

Great Wall of China

  • Numbers of visitors to the Great Wall of China increased after President Nixon’s 1972 visit to China. Today, millions of tourists visit the wall each year.
  • There are over 10,000 watchtowers at regular intervals along the wall. They were up to 13 metres tall, housed soldiers and supplies and were used as signal stations.
  • The walls were several metres wide so that men on top of the wall could easily defend it. They would have been armed with axes and  crossbows and the newly invented gunpowder.
  • As much as 60 km of the wall may disappear within the next 20 years because of erosion.
  • Thousands of soldiers, farmers, peasants and convicts worked for years to build the wall. One of the penalties for some crimes was to work on building the wall.
  • It is a myth that the Great Wall of China is the only man made structure that can be seen from the Moon. It can’t be seen from the Moon – it would be like trying to see a human hair from 3 km away.
  • The Great Wall of China marathon first took place in 1999 and covers a 42 km length of the wall. Runners have to negotiate over 5,100 stone steps.

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