Great Wall Beijing   Great Wall Ming Tombs Summer Palace

Key attraction information

Total length now: 4000 km (2500 ml)
Construction: from 5th century BC to 17th century


The Great Wall of China on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

The Great Wall of China is series of fortifications built along the West to East line across the historical Northern border of China. Several parts of the wall well built as early as 5th century BC but majority of the existing wall are from the period of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644).

The “Ten Thousand Li Great Wall” (Wan Li Chang Cheng) represents the pinnacle of 2 000 years of wall buiding in northern China. The construction visible today dates mostly from the 15th century and stretches for some 4,000 km (2,500 miles). It is a structure of overwhelming physical presence a vasit wall of earth, brick and stone topped by an endless procession of towers, rolling over mountain peaks, and across deep ravines and barren deserts. The Great Wall is in fact more than a remnant of history. It is massively symbolic of the tyranny of imperial rule; the application of mass labour, the ingenuity of engineers commissioned to work on the grandest scale; and the human desire to build for immortality.

It is misleading to speak of one wall. Archaeologists have identified many walls, some of which date back to the 5th century BC. These fortifications came into being because the flourishing agricultural settlements on the fertile plains along the Yellow River and its tributaries had to protect themselves against constant plundering by nomadic tribes. Each settlement built its own “great wall” of rammed earth, the earliest probably being in the state of Qi, in modern Shandong province. The length of all such walls so far discovered totals some 50 000 km (30, 000 miles)

The Badaling Great Wall nearby Beijing is considered the most representative part of the Great Wall

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