The Great Wall of China, the longest man-made structure on the planet, is a top UNESCO World Heritage Site in China and must-visit place for any trip to China. In order to help you understand the Wall well I’m bringing you some of the most fascinating Great Wall facts.
1. The Great Wall is one of the wonders of the world. A famous Chinese saying goes “If you don’t go to the Great Wall, you’re not a real man”
2. The Great Wall, known as “long Wall of 10,000 Li” in China, extends about 6,500 kilometers in total.
3. The Great Wall was originally built by various states in the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC – 476 BC) over 2,500 years ago.
4. The earliest wall was mainly made of earth and stone. The Ming Dynasty wall we see today was largely made of brick.
5. It is a rumor that the mortar contained human bones. Actually the mortar to hold the bricks together was made of rice flour.
6. The Great Wall includes guard towers, beacon towers, stairways, bridges and battlements.
7. The wall was constructed by laborers including soldiers, common people and criminals. It is estimated that up to 1 million people died while constructing the Great Wall!
8. The Great Wall has an average height of 7.8 meters and 4.6–9.1m wide at the base. Five to six horses can be ridden abreast along it.
9. Most of the original wall no longer exists. The Great Wall we see today was built mostly in the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644).
10. The Great Wall is not a continuous wall but is a collection of different walls made by different Chinese Dynasties.
11. The Great Wall was built as a means of protecting China against attacks from the north nomads.
12. William Lindesay, a British man, hiked 2,470 km alone on foot along the route of the Ming Dynasty Great Wall and wrote a book called “Alone on the Great Wall”.
13. A famous legend goes that Lady MengJiang‘s husband was recruited to build the Great Wall and died due to harsh labor. Meng was so sad and her weeping made a section of the wall collapsed, revealing her husband’s bones so she could bury them.
14. The Great Wall is the longest man made structure on earth. However it is a myth that the Great Wall of China can be seen from space with the naked eye.
15. The Great Wall was listed a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987.