THE GREAT WALL, The Great Wall

Audio File length: 2.46
English / USA Language: English / USA

Hi, my name’s Jill, and I’m your personal guide. Along with MyWoWo, I’d like to welcome you to one of the Wonders of the World: the Great Wall of China

The Great Wall is one of the most magnificent constructions of humankind. It is a series of fortifications made of stone, bricks, packed earth, wood and other materials, which runs along a line from east to west that once marked the northern border of China. Its purpose was to protect the Chinese states against raids and invasions from the various nomadic groups of the Eurasian Steppe.

The Great Wall also allowed for border controls and for the imposition of duties on goods. It was used to keep checks on immigration and emigration and as a transportation corridor for carriages.

Several stretches of the Wall were built almost 3000 years ago, in the ninth century BC, but most of the construction work took place between 220 and 206 BC, on the orders of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China. Only a small part of those walls remains, however, because the Great Wall was rebuilt and extended over the centuries, with towers and barracks being added under each dynasty. Most of the structure that stands today dates to the Ming dynasty, which ruled from 1368 to 1644.

A survey carried out using advanced satellite technology established that the Great Wall is 8850 km long, comprising 6259 km of walls, 359 of trenches and 2232 of natural defensive barriers such as hills and rivers.  If we take into consideration the various branches the walls are divided into, the grand total comes to an impressive 21,196 km.

573 kilometers of the Great Wall – 526 dating to the Ming dynasty - can be seen at various points in Beijing.

The easiest of these to reach using public transport is Badaling, where you can see the best-preserved part, complete with its military structures intact.

This place is usually very crowded, but there are other points you can choose, such as Mutianyu or Juyongguan, where you can also visit some centuries-old buildings such as towers and temples, or Jinshanling and Simatai, where you’ll also find cableways.


Let me leave you with an interesting fact: tens of millions of workers were employed in the construction of the Great Wall, and as many as a million are believed to have died.

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