The Great Wall of China

Great Wall of China, Chinese (Pinyin) Wanli Changcheng or (Wade-Giles romanization) Wan-li Ch’ang-Ch’ing (“10,000-Li Long Wall”), extensive bulwark erected in ancient China, one among the most important building-construction projects ever undertaken. the great Wall actually consists of various walls—many of them parallel to every other—built over some two millennia across northern China and southern Mongolia.

Nearly all of the remainder (about 70 percent of the entire length) is an actually constructed wall, with the tiny remaining stretches constituting ditches or moats. Although lengthy sections of the wall are now in ruins or have disappeared completely, it’s still one of the more remarkable structures on Earth. In 1987, the great wall was denominated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Large parts of the fortification system go back the 7th through the 4th century BCE.  The greater total length of the Ming wall was announced in 2009.

The Construction History of Great wall

The Great Wall developed from the disparate border fortifications and castles of individual Chinese kingdoms. For several centuries these kingdoms probably were as concerned with protection from their near neighbors as they were with the threat of barbarian invasions or raids.

Early building

About the 7th century BCE, the state of Chu began to construct a permanent defensive system. referred to as the “Square Wall,” this fortification was situated within the northern a part of the kingdom’s capital province. . within the southern part of the Qi state, an in-depth perimeter wall was gradually created using existing river dikes, newly constructed bulwarks, and areas of impassable mountain terrain. within the Zhongshan state, a wall system was built to thwart invasion from the states of Zhao and Qin within the southwest. there have been two defensive lines within the Wei state: the Hexi (“West of the [Yellow] River”) and Henan (“South of the River”) walls built

During the reign of King Hui (370–335 BCE), it had been expanded from the dikes on the Luo River on the western border. It started within the south near Xiangyuan Cave, east of Mount Hua, and ended at Guyang in what’s now the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.After administrative reorganization was administered by Shang Yang (died 338 BCE), the Qin state grew politically and militarily to become the strongest among the seven states, but it had been frequently raided by the Donghu and Loufan, two nomadic peoples fromT the north.

In the Yan state two separate defensive lines were prepared—the Northern Wall and therefore the Yishui Wall—in an attempt to defend the dominion from attacks by northern groups like the Donghu, Linhu, and Soufan, also as by the Qi state within the south. It began southwest of Yi City, the capital, and ended south of Tenjin. In 290 BCE the Yan state built the Northern Wall along the Yan Mountains, ranging from the northeast within the area of Zhangjiakou in Hebei, passing over the Liao River, and increasing to the traditional city of Xiangping (modern Liaoyang). This was the last segment of the great wall to be erected during the Zhanguo (Warring States) period.

In 221 BCE Shihuangdi, the primary Qin emperor, completed his annexation of Qi and thus unified China. He ordered the removal of the fortifications found out between the previous states because they served only as obstacles to internal movements and administration. additionally, he sent Gen. this era of construction began about 214 BCE and lasted a decade. many thousands of soldiers and conscripted workers labored on the project. With the autumn of the Qin dynasty after Shihuangdi’s death, however, the wall was left largely ungarrisoned and fell into disrepair.

The Great Wall

The Han through Yuan dynasties

During the reign of the Han emperor Wudi (141–87 BCE), the wall was strengthened as a part of an overall campaign against the Xiongnu. From that period the great wall also contributed to the exploitation of farmland in northern and western China and to the expansion of the trade route that came to be referred to as the Silk Road. In 121 BCE a 20-year project of construction was started on the Hexi Wall (generally referred to as the Side Wall) between Yongdeng (now in Gansu) within the east and Lake Lop Nur (now in Xinjiang) within the west. consistent with Juyan Hanjian (“Juyan Correspondence of the Han”), the strongpoints found out along the wall included “a beacon every 5 li, a tower every 10 li,The main work on the wall during the Dong (Eastern) Han period (25–220 CE) happened during the reign of Liu Xiu (Guangwudi), who in 38 ordered the repair of 4 parallel lines of the great wall up the world south of the Hexi Wall. the great wall served not just for defense but also to centralize control of trade and travel.

During the Bei (Northern) Wei (386–534/535 CE), the great wall was repaired and extended as a defense against attacks from the Juan-Juan and Khitan tribes within the north. consistent with Wei Shu: Mingyuandi Ji (“History of Wei: Chronicle of Emperor Mingyuan”), in 417, the eighth year of the reign of Mingyuandi (409–423), a neighborhood of the Great Wall was built south of Changchun, from Chicheng (now in Hebei) to Wuyuan (now in Inner Mongolia) within the west, extending quite 620 miles (1,000 km). It extended to the eastern side of the Huang He, forming a revolve around Datong. In 549, after the Dong Wei kingdom moved its capital east to Ye, it also built a segment of the great wall up the world of up to date Shanxi province. In order to strengthen its northern frontier and stop the invasion from the west by the Bei Zhou, the Bei Qi kingdom (550–577) launched several big construction projects that were nearly as extensive in scope because of the building projects of the Qin dynasty.

In 556 a replacement fortification was found out within the east and extended to the Yellow Sea. the subsequent year a second wall was built inside the great wall within modern Shanxi, beginning within the vicinity of Laying east of Pianguan, extending to the east beyond Yanmen Pass and Pingxing Pass, and ending within the area around Xiaguan in Shanxi. That’s the part of the great wall found today within the area around Longguan, Guangchang, and Fuping (in Shanxi and Hebei). In 565 the inner wall inbuilt 557 was repaired, and a replacement wall was added that started within the vicinity of Xiaguan, extended to the Juyong Pass within the east, then joined to the outer wall.and therefore the Khitan, the emperor Jing started a huge rebuilding program on areas of the wall located within the former Bei Qi kingdom, starting at Yanmen within the west and ending at Jieshi within the east.

During the Sui dynasty (581–618) the great wall was repaired and improved seven times in an attempt to defend the country against attacks from the Tujue. After the Tang (618–907) replaced the Sui, the country grew much stronger militarily, defeating the Tujue within the north and expanding beyond the first frontier. During the Sung (960–1279), however, the Liao and Jin peoples within the north were a continuing threat. Many areas on each side of the wall were subsequently appropriated by the Liao (907–1125) and Jin dynasties (1115–1234).

When the Song rulers had to retreat even farther—to the south of the Chang Jiang (Chang Jiang)—repairs to the wall or extensions of it were not feasible. Limited repairs were administered once (1056) during Liao times but only within the area between the Yazi and Hunting rivers. In 1115, after the Jin dynasty was founded, the action was completed on two protective lines at Mingchang.

The old wall previously told the Wushu Wall, or Jinyuan Fort—ran westward to some range north of Wulanhada, then wound through the Hailatu Mountains, turn to the north then to the west again, finally ending at the Nuanshui River. The second lines were the new Mingchang Wall, also called the Inner Jin Wall or the Jin Trench, which was constructed south of the old wall. It started within the west from a bend within the Huang He and ended at the Sungari (Songhua) River.

During the Yuan (Mongol) dynasty (1206–1368), the Mongols controlled all of China, also as other parts of Asia and sections of Europe. As a defense the great Wall was of little significance to them; however, some forts and key areas were repaired and garrisoned so as to regulate commerce .

The Ming dynasty to the present

Rulers during the Ming (1368–1644) ceaselessly maintained and strengthened the great Wall to stop another Mongolian invasion. the bulk of the work happened along the old walls built by the Bei Qi and Bei Wei.

Most of the great Wall that stand today is that the results of work done during the reign of the Hongzhi Emperor (1487–1505). Starting west of Juyong Pass, this a part of the wall was split into south and north lines, respectively named the Inner and Outer walls. Along the wall were many strategic “passes” (i.e., fortresses) and gates. Together they were mentioned because the Three Inner Passes. Farther west was Yanmen, Ningwu, and Piantou passes, referred to as the Three Outer Passes. Both the Inner and Outer passes were of key importance in saving the capital and were generally heavily garrisoned.

After the Qing (Manchu) dynasty (1644–1911/12) replaced the Ming, there was a change in a ruling strategy called huairou (“mollification”), wherein the Qing tried to pacify the leaders and peoples of Mongolia, Tibet, and other nationalities by not interfering with local social, cultural, or religious life. due to the success of that strategy, the great Wall was repaired less frequently, and it gradually fell into ruin.

The Great Wall

Design Of The Fortifications

The Great Wall had three major components: passes, signal towers (beacons), and walls.


Passes were major strongholds along the wall, usually located at such key positions as intersections with trade routes. The ramparts of the many passes were faced with huge bricks and stones, with dirt and crushed stones as filler. The bastions measured some 30 feet (10 metres) high and 13 to 16 feet (4 to five metres) wide at the highest. Within each pass were accessed ramps for horses and ladders for soldiers. the surface parapet was crenellated, and therefore the inside parapet, or yuqiang (nüqiang), was a coffee wall about 3 feet (1 metre) high that prevented people and horses from a slump the highest. additionally, to serving as an access point for merchants and other civilians, the gate within the pass was used as an exit for the garrison to counterattack raiders or to send patrols.

Under the gate arch, there was typically an enormous door of wood. Bolts and locker rings were set within the inner panel of every door. On top of every gate was a gate tower that served as a watchtower and general headquarters. Usually, it stood one to 3 stories (levels) high and was constructed either of wood or of bricks and wood. Built outside the gate, where an enemy was presumably to attack, was a weighing, a semicircular or polygonal parapet that shielded the gate from direct assault. Extending beyond the foremost strategic wengchengs was a further line of protection, the lurching, which was often topped by a tower wont to watch those beyond the wall and to direct troop movements in battles waged there. round the gate entrance, there was often a moat that was formed within the process of digging earth to create the fortifications.

Signal towers

Signal towers were also called beacons, beacon terraces, smoke mounds, mounds, or kiosks. They were used to send military contacts: beacon (fires or lanterns) during the night or smoke signals within the daytime; other methods like raising banners, beating clappers, or firing guns were also used. Signal towers, often built on hilltops for max visibility, were self-contained high platforms or towers. The lower levels contained rooms for soldiers, also as stables, sheepfolds, and storage areas.


The wall itself was the key a part of the defensive system. it always stood 21.3 feet (6.5 meters) wide at the bottom and 19 feet (5.8 meters) at the highest, with a mean height of 23 to 26 feet (7 to eight meters), or a touch lower on steep hills. The structure of the wall varied from place to put, counting on the supply of building materials. Walls were made from tamped earth sandwiched between wooden boards, adobe bricks, a brick and stone mixture, rocks, or pilings and planks. Some sections made use of existing river dikes; others used rugged mountain terrain like cliffs and gorges to require the place of artificial structures.

In the western deserts the walls were often simple structures of rammed earth and adobe; many eastern ramparts, like those near Badaling, were faced with stone and included a variety of secondary structures and devices. On the inner side of such walls, placed at small intervals, were arched doors called Juan, which were made from bricks or stones. Inside each Juan were stone or brick steps resulting in the highest of the battlement. On the highest, on the side facing outward, stood 7-foot- (2-metre-) high crenels called duokou. On the upper, a part of the duokou were large openings wont to watch and shoot at attackers, and on the lower part were small openings, or loopholes, through which defenders could also shoot. At intervals of about 650 to 1,000 feet (200 to 300 meters) there was a crenelated platform rising slightly above the highest of the wall and protruding from the side that faced attackers.

During the battle, the platform provided a commanding view and made it possible to shoot attackers from the side as they attempted to scale the wall with ladders. On several platforms were simply structured huts called puffing, which provided shelter for the guards during storms. Some platforms, like signal towers, had two or three stories and will be wont to store weapons and ammunition. Those at Badaling commonly had two stories, with accommodations for quite 10 soldiers on the lower level. there have been also drainage ditches on the walls to shield them from damage by excessive rainwater.

Military Administration

Each major stronghold along the wall was hierarchically linked to a network of military and administrative commands. During the rule of Shihuangdi, 12 prefectures were established along the wall, and within the Ming period, the entire fortification was divided into 9 defense areas, or zones. A post chief (zongbingguan) was assigned to every zone. Together they were referred to as the Nine Border Garrisons.

Tradition And Conservation

The Great Wall has long been incorporated into Chinese mythology and popular symbolism, and within the 20th century, it came to be considered a national symbol. Above the East Gate (Dongmen) at Shanhai Pass is an inscription attributed to the medieval historian Xiao Xian, which is translated as “First Pass Under Heaven,” pertaining to the normal division between Chinese civilization and therefore the barbarian lands to the north.

Despite the wall’s cultural significance, roadways are traversed it at several points, and vast sections have suffered centuries of neglect. within the 1970s a segment near Simatai (68 miles [110 km] northeast of Beijing) was dismantled for building materials, but it had been subsequently rebuilt. The best-known section, at Badaling (43 miles [70 km] northwest of Beijing), was rebuilt within the late 1950s; it now attracts thousands of national and foreign tourists a day . Part of the wall round Shanhai Pass and at Mount Hu, the eastern terminus, also had been reconstructed by 2000.

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