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The Great Wall of China

 Beijing Attractions

The Great Wall of China is located in Beijing and is one of the most famous tourist attractions of China. To begin with the Great Wall was a series of small walls that were not interconnected. The beginning of the Great Wall can be traced back to the Qin Dynasty where Qin Shi Huang the first emperor of China ordered that fortifications should be made to keep out enemies.

As time progressed Chinese emperors from different dynasties connected the walls together to keep out Huns, Mongols and other tribes. It is however worth noting that it was not until the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) that the wall was completed and the majority of the Great Wall seen today dates back to the Ming Dynasty. Thousands of soldiers, criminals and peasants worked on building the wall.

The Great Wall of China is primarily made of earth, mud, stone and bricks. The height of the wall is between five and nine meters tall and up to eight meters wide. There are towers every few hundred meters that were once used to store military supplies and more importantly were watch posts that were used to send information. Cannonballs and smoke signals were used by guards to inform other towers of possible intruders.

Over the course of time different sections of the wall have been damaged by weather, earthquakes and war. The western part of China is affected by sandstorms that have covered parts of the wall. As a result almost half of the wall has disappeared completely, while about 30% is in remarkably good condition. The best preserved sections of the Great Wall are Badaling and Mutianyu.

Since 2006, the Chinese government began taking precautions to protect the Great Wall. Today the wall is a World Heritage Site and is a major symbol of China. The Wall is separated into several sections and it is estimated the most visited section is a part near Beijing which 6 million tourists go to visit every year.

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