10 Interesting Facts About the Great Wall of China

Known to some as an unofficial 8th wonder of the world (It’s not included as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. That list needs updating), the Great Wall of China is one that is wrapped in mystery, history, and excitement.  It is one of the finest examples of human engineering, so many blood, sweat, and tears went into its construction.  Here are just a few facts that you may have not known about. 

  1. The wall isn’t actually a wall, more like a series of walls and fragments. This is partly due to how long it took to be fully realized and constructed, but also due to opposing forces holding it back.
  2. While it does get the label as being the largest continuous grave on the planet, it isn’t actually sitting on top of the million or so people who died building it. Building on-top of mass graves is more of a Western practice.
  3. The Great Wall is officially the longest man-made construction every built, with the walls of the fort of Kumbhalgarh being the second longest wall at a mere 38km.
  4. The Great Wall was built to protect China from the Huns (Turkish ancestors), nearly 400 years before the Turks arrived.
  5. When the Mongols invaded China, the Great Wall wasn’t so great, as it was easily navigated, which led to Khan’s rule until Ming finally won China back in the late 14th
  6. The majority of the Great Wall of China was built during Han, Sui, Jin, and Ming dynasties. The majority of the bricks left today came from Ming.  The oldest bricks are only about 500 yrs old.
  7. It is true that the Great Wall of China can be seen from the International Space Station, but the rumor that it can be seen from the moon is actually completely false. That piece of speculation was made 30 years before the moon landing.
  8. The Great Wall varies in width, depending on where you’re at. The sections that are most often traveled by tourists are the widest, while the sections closest to Simatai can only be traversed by one person at a time, and even further you’ll find no paths, just wall.
  9. The Great Wall of China was built from all walks of life, but did rely heavily on the poor and the disenfranchised. Criminals were forced to build the wall as indentured servants during Quin and Han dynasties.
  10. Chairman Mao called upon the working class to dismantle parts of the wall to help build homes and infrastructure during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Despite this, he is still famously quoted as saying that “you aren’t a man if you have not been to the Great Wall.”

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