If you are planning to explore China, you shouldn’t miss the Great Wall of China, one of the greatest engineering wonders in the world and the longest defensive fortification built ever. Situated in the northern part of China, this tall, imposing structure comprises a series of fortifications, stretching over 13000 miles, and it courses through hills, plains and deserts. It is a military masterpiece, a symbol of Chinese strength, built by various dynasties in the past to prevent the invaders from gaining control of the ancient Chinese kingdom. It has been listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The construction of these huge walls was initiated by an ancient Chinese emperor, Qin Shui Huang, in the 3rd century B.C. Nevertheless, the walls existed even before his reign when China was divided into a multiple independent kingdoms. Qin Shui Huang unified the entire China by bringing all the kingdoms together, and he brought the existing walls into a single wall to prevent attacks or invasions by his enemies from the north. After his death, a series of northern tribes gained control of the kingdom one after the other, the powerful among them being the Wei dynasty, which rebuilt the existing wall and extended it as a defensive measure.
Although many dynasties contributed to the construction of the wall, much of it that you will see today was built by the powerful Ming dynasty, which reigned China between 1368-1644, the period when the kingdom flourished and when several other constructions began, including the temples and bridges. Subsequently, during the 17th century, the Manchus from the southern Manchuria forced their way through the wall and ousted the Ming dynasty. During their reign, the wall gained prominence throughout the world, and it became the symbol of the power of China. Since then, it has remained one of the most stunning architectural wonders in history.
The walls were mainly built of limestone, brick and rammed earth, and the men who built the walls were soldiers and prisoners, most of whom died during the construction. In fact, they were built using hands with ropes, stones, wheel barrows, carts and pulley systems, and no machines were used. Most of the walls have eroded over the years due to the changes in climatic condition, and only a few sections exist today, which attract hundreds of tourists every year. Roads have been laid through the wall in various points
The Great Wall of China in Photos