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        The Great Wall of China — All You Want to Know

        Get a thorough intro to the Great Wall of China: interesting facts, who built it, and why, and how, locations, maps, length, height, Beijing tours...

        The Great Wall of China is one of the greatest sights in the world — the longest wall in the world, an awe-inspiring feat of ancient defensive architecture. Its winding path over rugged country and steep mountains takes in some great scenery.

        Beijing Accessibility & Restrictions for Visitors

        Beijing is conditionally open and can be visited by foreign travelers. If you are planning a trip to Beijing and want to know more details, please contact us. Alternatively, you can check our popular Beijing tours for inspiration.

        1. What you will need to visit:

        • Green health code
        • Mask
        • Registration form for temporary residence (required by hotels)

        2. If you come from areas with medium or high risk, you need to be quarantined for seven days.

        3. Popular attractions that are open include (but are not limited to):

        • The Forbidden City (including indoor exhibition halls)
        • The Great Wall
        • The Temple of Heaven
        • The Summer Palace


        The Great Wall facts

        Read more about Great Wall Facts.

        Who Built the Great Wall and Why

        The "Long Wall" has a long history — more than 2,300 years. It was built in different areas by different states/dynasties to protect different territorial borders.

        Who Built the Great Wall, and When

        It's often said that the First Emperor of Qin built the Great Wall. Actually he was not the first to build it. See below:

        who built the great wall of china infographic

        Dynasty Great Wall History — Key Events
        Zhou Dynasty: The (Pre-) Warring States Period (770–221 BC) State overlords built state border walls.
        The Qin Dynasty (221–207 BC) The First Emperor of Qin linked the Great Wall sections on China's northern border.
        The Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) Han Wudi extended the Great Wall west to Yumen Pass and beyond.
        The Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) Hero General Qi Jiguang rebuilt the Great Wall around Beijing.
        the Great Wall of ChinaThe Great Wall was built to prevent invasion and protect silk road trade.

        Why the Great Wall Was Built

        In the Qin Dynasty, the First Emperor of Qin inked the northern walls to prevent invasion from northern nations. In the Han Dynasty, the emperors extended the Great Wall far into today's western China to protect Silk Road trade.


        How the Great Wall was Built

        construction of the Great Wall of China, how the Great Wall was built

        The majestic Great Wall was built with wisdom, dedication, blood, sweat, and tears. Families were separated, and many workers died and were interred as part of the Great Wall itself.

        • Workers: soldiers, peasants, rebels
        • Materials: stone, soil, sand, brick
        • Material delivery: by hand, rope, cart, goat

        Read more on How the Great Wall Was Built — Materials and Methods: See who the workers were, their construction techniques, and how they moved the huge amount of materials.

        How Tall Is the Great Wall?

        The height of the Great Wall is 5–8 meters (16–26 feet), where intact/restored. It was designed to be at least three times the height of a man. Some of the Wall was built along ridges, which make it look taller.

        The Great Wall's Structure — Walls, Watchtowers, Fortresses

        the Great Wall of China, Great Wall watchtowerA watchtower at the Great Wall

        The Great Wall was not just a wall. It was an integrated military defensive system with watchtowers for surveillance, fortresses for command posts and logistics, beacon towers for communications, etc.

        In the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), the Great Wall was reconstructed to be stronger and more sophisticated, due to better construction techniques being developed.

        • The wall body: The Ming Great Wall usually had battlements 1.8 meters (6 feet) high with loopholes and crenels, and parapet walls 1.2 meters (4 feet) high.
        • Flanking towers: Every 500 meters or less (1,640 feet) on the Great Wall there was a flanking tower allowing defenders to shoot arrows at attackers at the face of the wall.
        • Fortresses were built at important/vulnerable access points (passes), such as Shanhai Pass Fortress, Juyong Pass Fortress, and Jiayu Pass Fortress. There were many archery windows and gates on the forts. The fortress gatehouses were the strongest and most impregnable structures on the Great Wall.

        Read more about How Was the Great Wall Defended.

        6 destinations for China tour

        Present Condition — 30%+ of the Great Wall Is Gone

        the great wall of China at jiankou30%+ of the Great Wall is gone.

        Due to natural erosion and human damage, about 2,000 kilometers, or 30% of the Ming Great Wall has disappeared. (Far more of previous dynasties' Great Wall sections is gone.)

        Restoration and Protection to the Great Wall

        To prevent further loss of the Great Wall, the Chinese Government has taken measures to protect it:

        • Laws to protect the Great Wall
        • Funds for protection, restoration, and maintenance

        As individuals, we can do the follows to protect the Great Wall:

        • Plant trees to keep the Great Wall slopes protected from erosion
        • Don't litter and graffiti / remove trash and graffiti
        • Don't damage the Great Wall / take bricks home (it's illegal)

        Read more about Great wall Protection.

        Great Wall Culture — Legends, Stories, Poetry

        the great wall legend of mengjiangnv, the Great Wall of ChinaMeng Jiang Nv weeping over the Great Wall.

        The Great Wall is a China icon. It shows us not only China's culture of national pride, grand projects, and determined resistance, but also China's extravagant architecture and creativity.

        During the construction of the Great Wall, there were many interesting legends and myths, such as Meng Jiang Nv weeping over the Great Wall, a sad but romantic love story set in the Qin Dynasty.

        Read more on Great Wall Culture — Legends, Stories, Poetry

        Great Wall Travel

        The Great Wall of China is the must-visit China attraction. Perhaps the most powerful advertising words in history come from the poetic pen of Chairman Mao: "Until you reach the Great Wall, you're no hero." Figuratively this has come to mean 'to get over difficulties before reaching a goal'.

        Why You Should Visit The Great Wall

        the Great Wall of China, great wall of China sceneryThe Great Wall in autumn

        "Greatest Human Feat in History": The Great Wall is the building project with the longest duration and greatest cost in human lives, blood, sweat and tears. It deserves its place among "the New Seven Wonders of the World" and the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

        Over 300 World VIPs Have Visited the Great Wall!

        Over the years, many national leaders and celebrities have been to the Great Wall...

        • Barack Obama, President of the U.S., visited the Great Wall in November 18, 2009.
        • David Cameron, Britain's Prime Minister, visited Juyong Pass on November 10, 2010.
        • See who else has been to the Great Wall.

         China expat tour promotions

        Most Popular Sections Around Beijing

        the Great Wall of China, the Mutianyu Great Wall sectionThe Great Wall at Mutianyu

        We would rank Beijing's nearby Great Wall sections as follows, according to our customers' feedback and our own personal experience:

        • Mutianyu — the most magnificent fully-restored Great Wall section
        • Jinshanling — the most popular Great Wall hiking route, with most beautiful original architecture
        • Jiankou — the section that appears on most postcards, steep and perilous

        However, we recognize your individual choice will be based on your own personal interests and requirements. See our Great Wall sections comparison for more information to base your choice on.

        Discover the Great Wall with Us

        Great Wall Tour with ChinahighlightsTravel with us and enjoy your Great Wall tour at your own pace.

        If you are planning a Great Wall tour, see our guide to how to plan a Great Wall tour. Or see our recommended tours for inspiration:

        Not quite what you were looking for? No problem. See more our Great Wall hiking tours. You can have us tailor-make your own Great Wall tour by telling us your interests and requirements.

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