The Great Wall of China 長城 (cháng chéng)!

The great wall of China has a very long and interesting history. It started out as small mounds of earth thrown up to keep nomadic people away from farmers. Eventually, the wall was worked on and polished to look more appealing.

The wall was built over a span of three dynasties, as the following: the Qin, the Han, and the Ming. The first Dynasty to work on the wall was the Qin Dynasty in 221 B.C. It was made mostly stone, but when an area ran out of natural stone, workers filled the wooden frame with soil, and packed it until it was tight. Many workers were scholars and political enemies of the Emperor. The additions made by the Han dynasty travel through the Gobi desert. The method of building they used was very effective, so parts of the wall can still be seen in the desert. The wall we see today was completed in the Ming dynasty, 17th century. The Great Wall was build in many different ways with different materials. They built the wall on steep mountains using strong, sturdy bricks and crenel stones, while in grassland or desert, people used local sand mixed with strong plants because bricks and stones weren't available. Strong bricks lasted much longer than the other methods used and the method of building was more efficient. The chinese architects were able to improve as the years went by and as new kingdoms came to power.

Crenel Stone
Crenel Stone

The wall is approximately 3700 miles in length. If all of the additions made throughout history were still standing, the wall would be about 31,000 miles long. Its height varies between 15 and 30 feet. The wall was built so many years ago that many sections of it are either shorter, smaller or totally disappeared, and people have tried to fix it, but they could never complete all of it.
Many people were involved in building the wall included great army of manpower (soldiers, prisoners, and local people). It is estimated that 70% of China's population at the time was involved in building the Qin Wall, and about 1 million people died building this 3,000 miles section (300 people per mile). It is a legend that Emperors sometimes buried their enemies beneath the wall. The Great Wall was originally built in Spring, Autumn; it was built in order to protect the people of China from invasion from Northern tribes, such as the Huns and the Mongols.

Other Facts
It has been told that The Great Wall contained thousands of forts and towers, which were guarded by more than a million men. There are a few marathons that you can participate in that take place on the Great Wall. You will need a lot of physical strength to complete a challenge of this magnitude. Not many runners have finished due to the difficulty of the course. This approach is less physically demanding than a 26.2 mile run. There are also many opportunities to hike and camp on the Great Wall. Chinese Government had came up with many measures to protect the Great Wall, for example: enact laws, provide funds, plants tree and remove trash.

The Four Seasons
Visiting the Great Wall in different time will give you a different quite of sense. In Spring, everything looks fresh and green since the trees are growing. In Summer, blooming flowers and colored leaves give the wall a nice sight. Then in fall, the mountains are blanketed by colors, creating an amazing view for the wall, and it also has the best weather throughout the year. Many people said that this is the best season to go and visit the Great Wall. If you like the snowy sense, winter is the right time for you to experience the wall and mountains covered with snow.

Legend About The Great Wall
"In the Qin Dynasty (221 B.C. - 206 B.C.), a young man named Fanqi Liang escaped from the Great Wall construction site and hid in a private garden where he came across the owner’s pretty daughter. They fell in love and got married. Unfortunately, Fanqi Liang was found, captured and returned to the construction site.
Meng Jiang Nü waited day and night for her husband. Winter came but Fanqi Liang failed to return. Meng Jiang Nü sewed some warm clothes to take to her husband. She arrived at the construction site but Fanqi Liang was nowhere to be found. She was then informed that Fanqi Liang had died and his body was built into the Great Wall. Meng Jiang Nü stayed by the wall and wept for days and nights. Deeply moved by the girl’s bitter weeping, a 400 kilometer section of the Great Wall collapsed and exposed the bones and bodies of many dead men. Meng Jiang Nü cut her fingers and dripped her blood on the dead until her blood flowed into one. Knowing that this was her husband, she buried him and then drowned herself.
This is a wide spread legend about the Great Wall. Plays and operas based on the story have been popular through the ages in all parts of China. Temples have been built in her memory" (Travel China Guild).

Part of The Great Wall Unrestored
Part of The Great Wall Unrestored
The Great Wall In The Winter
The Great Wall In The Winter
Map Of The Great Wall
Map Of The Great Wall

- This map shows roughly where all the additions and past construction work was done on the wall.

- The varying colors represent the Wall during different periods of its construction.

For further information about the Great Wall, see these sites:
Activity Village
China Highlights
Travel China Guild