Tourist countries \ China \ Great Wall of China

The great Wall of China -
- The most interesting facts and the most ridiculous myths

The longest constructed human building is the Great Wall of China. In ancient times, it protected China from the raids of nomads, and now it is the main tourist attraction of the country, which is watched by 50 million tourists a year. In this article we will talk about the length of the wall, its history, purpose and much more.

The Chinese Wall as a tourist attraction

The most interesting sites of the Great Wall of China are in the north of Beijing . A trip to the wall is the most popular excursion in the capital of China. First of all, you need to decide how you want to go to the wall - yourself or as part of the tour group? Each option has advantages and disadvantages. Read our article "The Chinese Wall - a tour or independently ", where we told about it in detail.

Туристы на экскурсии на Великой Китайской стене

If you decide to go on your own, then Badalin's site is best for you (pictured right), since it can be quickly and comfortably reached by train. Read our article " Trip to Badaling to the Great Wall of China ".

If you chose a tour, then the choice of sections of the wall you have wider. We recommend the Mutianyu site as the most interesting in the vicinity of Beijing. A trip to the Great Wall of China in the case of an excursion is combined with a visit to the tombs of the Ming emperors or the Underground Palace . A full list of options can be found in our article " Excursions in Beijing ."

Only after visiting the wall itself, one can feel the grandeur of this grand structure, try to imagine how many people and how long it was built. To understand the Chinese who consider the Great Wall of China their national pride. Read our article " On the very wall of China " and see the photo galleries.

Length of the Great Wall of China and other figures

What is the length of the Great Wall of China? The answer to this question is much more complicated than it may seem. Many people believe that the wall was built as a whole at one point in time, but this is a serious misconception. For 2700 years the wall was built gradually. Some areas were added, some were abandoned.

The figure of the length of the Great Wall of China depends very much on the methodology of counting. There is an official figure, which was received by Chinese scientists after five years of research. This figure is 21,196 kilometers, the research report was published in 2012.

As you understand, the Chinese considered all the sites that they found. Even the completely extinct parts of the structure were included here. Walls built in Mongolia under the emperors of the Qing dynasty also fell into this calculation, although no one ever attributed them to the Great Wall of China. It is clear that Chinese scientists acted on the principle of "the longer, the better"

Даже здесь видно, что Китайская стена очень длинная

The world community is not in a hurry to recognize this new staggering figure. Many scientists believe that Chinese experts have clearly overdone. Officially, the world recognized another figure - 8,850 kilometers, but it was not obtained through research, but as a historical legacy from the time of the Ming dynasty.

Archaeological excavations are still underway, and scientists are finding new sites. Most recently, a 290-kilometer long section was discovered. This part of the wall begins at Mount Hu Shan in Liaoning Province and ends at the Jiayu Pass in Gansu Province.

This newly found site was built from soil, not from stone or brick, and from the wall now there is almost nothing left. Even the last remnants of buildings will disappear in a few decades. The main enemy of the Great Wall of China is desertification in northwest China. In these areas there is a serious degradation of soils.

Тут нет одного из отрезков Китайской стены
Туристы тоже разрушают Великую стену

The climate is changing, strong winds start to blow and sand storms happen. It is believed that one-third of the Great Wall of China has already been lost irretrievably. Especially the big loss is the sections of the wall in Gansu province, because here was the famous "Silk Road".

Many sections of the Great Wall of China now look so that it is already impossible to identify a fortification in them. They are recognized by indirect signs - stones with inscriptions, pieces of ceramics, finds of metal weapons.

According to the report of The China Great Wall Academy in 2002, only 30% of the wall is in satisfactory condition.

New finds of archaeologists and the disappearance of wall traces due to desertification further complicate the task of determining the actual length of the structure.

The width of the wall is from 6 to 9 meters, in the areas near Beijing, usually 7 meters. Height from 5 to 8 meters. By the way, such a small height disappoints many tourists. People expect to see something gigantic, but here only the height of two floors of a modern apartment building.

Chinese Wall on the map of China

The Great Wall of China was rebuilt many times. In more detail, we'll talk about this later in the section on the history of this structure.

Великая Китайская стена на карте Китая

In the picture on the right you see a map of China with the walls of the Ming Dynasty era - a classic version of the Great Wall of China.

The rest of the sites are abandoned, and we did not draw them. In addition, if they are all displayed on this map, it will be filled with strips.

The task of this card is to give the reader an adequate idea of ​​the location of the Great Wall of China on the map of China, and not to display absolutely all of its sections.

Do you see the Great Wall of China from space

This is the second most popular question about this structure. In this regard, dozens of studies and calculations were carried out, many cosmonauts were interviewed. Truth has already been found and proven, but disputes still do not subside.

Ян Ливей - первый китайский космонавт
Нил Армстронг - первый человек на Луне
Базз Олдрин - второй человек на Луне
Американский астонавт Джеффри Алан Хофман
Деннис Энтони Тито - первый космический турист

The Great Wall of China is NOT visible from outer space with the naked eye. This fact has already been proved many times. According to calculations, the acuity of human vision is not enough for this. To see such an object from space, you need to have 7 times more acute vision than there is a person.

The first Chinese astronaut, Yang Liwei (left photo), who flew into space in 2003, put the point in this issue. After the flight, the journalists asked him: did he see from the orbit the Great Wall of China? The cosmonaut answered briefly and clearly: "No."

The width of the structure is 7 meters. Many streets in cities have a wide width, but from space you can see only very wide streets of megacities. In addition, the Great Wall of China does not differ from the surrounding landscape in color. It's no wonder that Yang Liwei did not see her.

In due time Neil Armstrong was asked a lot about this (pictured left), the first person on the Moon. He wondered if the Great Wall of China could be seen from the surface of the moon. Armstrong states that there are no man-made objects at all. This is confirmed by Buzz Aldrin (left photo) - his partner in the first landing on the moon.

American astronaut Jeffrey Alan Hoffman (left) spent a lot of time contemplating the earth's surface from space, but the Great Wall of China never found. The first space tourist Dennis Anthony Tito also looked, but saw nothing.

But the astronaut William Pog saw the wall, but only with the help of binoculars. After the flight, William Pogue said that after this he tried to see it with the naked eye, but nothing happened. This list of cosmonauts and astronauts is still long, we think, there is no sense to continue.

However, there are astronauts who claim to have seen the Great Wall of China after all. Among them: an astronaut, and now Senator Jake Garne, astronaut Eugene Cernan, and an expedition member to the ISS, Ed Liu.

Unfortunately, this myth still lives in mass culture, and especially it is strong on the Internet. Each second site, telling about the Great Wall of China, claims that it can be seen from outer space. We hope that we have contributed to the cause of enlightenment, and convinced the readers that this is just a delusion.

10 interesting facts

1. The Great Wall of China is not visible from space, but can be seen from an airplane. Most of the flight routes from Russia to China pass over it. Look into the porthole carefully, and you will see it.

2. Surprisingly, there is no image of the Great Wall of China on any coin or bank note of the Chinese yuan .

3. The Great Wall of China is recognized as the symbol of China No. 1. In the "fierce battle" she defeated a big panda, a Peking duck and the famous Chinese - Mao Zedong and Confucius.

4. The Chinese call it "The Wall of 10 000 li." Is the distance equal to about 0.5 km.

5. If you pull out a brick from the Great Wall of China, then commit an administrative offense. Fine 5,000 yuan .

6. In China, there is an underground market for the sale of bricks. The average price is 50 yuan, and you can still bargain . We do not recommend buying such bricks, as you will not be able to remove this purchase from China. It is better to choose other gifts and souvenirs . In addition, who guarantees that this brick is real? To shove a fake is a popular 'divorce' of tourists in China .

7. You will see the wall before you arrive in China, it is depicted on Chinese visas .

8. The name "Great Wall" is an absolute record holder for use as trademark names in China. The so-called cars, several types of tea, clothes, shoes and innumerable amounts of food brands. This is also the name of the famous brand of Chinese wine , but there is no brand of Chinese cigarettes with this name.

9. Three charitable marathon races are held annually on the Great Wall of China. Any person can take part.

10. Many times the Chinese wall was used for advertising purposes. ADIDAS advertising was shot there, several musicians made clips, including Justin Bieber, but all these clips and commercials went unnoticed by the general public.

History of construction

The history of the Great Wall of China contains even more myths that Chinese archaeologists deny by "sweat of their brow". The first false idea is that the wall was built as a single project. Of course, this is not so. Such a large-scale construction in a short period of time, no ancient empire could not stand.

Возведение Великой Китайской стены - современная картина

For example, the pyramid of Cheops is one construction project. Assembled the workers, built several decades, built, put inside Pharaoh and dispersed. With the Great Wall of China everything was different.

Back in the 7th century BC, the Chinese developed a simple but effective construction technology. At first, the timber formwork was being built, and then the soil was piled inside. Of course, the quality of such a structure was not high, but the speed of construction was enormous for that time. So the Chinese were able to build the first long walls.

The construction of protective structures was especially active in the "period of the belligerent kingdoms," when seven states in China were continuously at war with each other, but very few remains of those walls were preserved, as they were quickly washed away by rain.

Император Цинь Шихуанди

At the end of the 3rd century, Qin Shihuandi conquered all of China and became his first emperor. He ordered to demolish the walls between the former states, and to unite the walls in the north into one single protective structure for defense against the Sunnah barbarians (we call them "Huns").

Qin Shihuandi also started several other large-scale construction projects. Until now, his Terracotta Army , his tomb in Xian and the Grand Canal have survived. He also began to build a new grandiose imperial palace, but this palace has not survived to our time.

Recall that Qin Shihuandi did not rule for long - from 221 to 210 BC, and he did not manage to finish the construction of the Great Wall of China. Construction continued at the next Han dynasty.

After the Han dynasty, China was again fragmented. About the wall then forgotten, then they began to restore again. During this period, parts of stone and brick begin to appear, but the center of the structure is still filled with soil.

Еще один участок стены
История строительства на табличках в Бадалин
Еще две таблички рассказывают историю возведения
Такие пушки несли службу на Великой Китайской стене
Вид сверху на одну из сторожевых башен
Охранная башня - вид снизу
Туристы карабкаются вверх по крутой лестнице
Современная стража Великой Китайской стены

Builders always used those materials that could be found nearby. The cost of the construction itself, China could still withstand, but the transportation of stone or brick over long distances was unbearable even for China.

Where there were mountains nearby, the wall was built of stones. Where there were deposits of good clay, it was built of bricks. Where there was nothing, built on the old technology - from the ground in a wooden formwork.

In the beginning of the 13th century Genghis Khan united the nomadic tribes under his authority and immediately put forward his army to conquer China. Naturally, the Great Wall of China did not stop him. The Mongols quickly captured one of the outposts - Baidenchheng in Shanxi Province, west of modern Beijing, opened the gates, and their entire army passed into the territory of China.

After the conquest of the Mongols ruled China for more than 100 years, these rulers went down in history as the Yuan dynasty. They did not need a Great Wall. Money for repairs was not allocated, garrisons and sentries were removed. The Chinese wall collapsed.

At the end of the 14th century, the Mongol Yuan dynasty was overthrown by the Chinese as a result of the liberation movement and a large uprising. The new Ming dynasty reigned. The Ming emperors fought the Mongols many times, but could not eliminate the Mongolian threat completely. They returned to the tactics of containment and urgently began to rebuild the Great Wall of China.

All the powerful and beautiful sections of the wall around Beijing, which tourists like to see, were erected in the era of Ming. It was during the Ming emperors that the wall became stone or brick on most sites, guns begin to be used for defense. It is during this period that it reaches its maximum length of 8,850 kilometers.

However, the Great Wall of China did not save the Ming dynasty. In the middle of the 17th century a new insurrection broke out, this time against the Ming emperors. The insurgents took Beijing, and the last emperor of the Ming dynasty hung himself on his scarf in a park near the Forbidden City .

At that moment, an army of Manchus came to China from the north. They also did not experience problems with overcoming the Great Wall of China. They opened the gates of General U Sangui, who hoped to suppress the uprising with the help of the Manchus. As a result, the Manchus occupied Beijing and founded their Qing dynasty, which ruled China until the 20th century.

The emperors of the Qing dynasty successfully fought and communicated with the Mongols. They eliminated the threat of nomadic raids and advanced the borders of China far to the north. The Great Wall of China again became unnecessary. It gradually disintegrated and survived to our days in a deplorable state.

The last time the wall was used for military purposes in 1933. There was a major battle between the armies of Japan and China during the Second Sino-Japanese War.

At the end of the 20th century, the Chinese authorities began actively restoring the construction and development of tourism. During the excursions to the wall, tourists now see the result of the work of modern scientists-restorers.

Who built the Great Wall of China

There are many legends about the atrocities during the construction of the Chinese wall. The wall is called the largest mass grave in the world. They say that people died in the construction of thousands, and from the bones of these unfortunate people they made mortar for laying stones and bricks.

Еще одна картина о строительстве

The most popular of these legends is the story of the woman Men Gian Moo. According to legend, her husband died on the construction of the wall, and his body was walled inside. She cried so much that the wall fell from her crying. She was able to take the body and bury her husband.

It is a beautiful legend, but no evidence of it is found. Chinese archaeologists have spent hundreds of excavations on the remains of the Great Wall of China, and no bodies of builders have been found inside. All analyzes of the solution show that it was made from rice flour, and no traces of bones were found.

People really lost their lives in construction. Conditions for workers were complex. People spent the night under the open sky and were undernourished. Some of the workers were indeed slaves or prisoners.

Now we live in a humane society where convicts are held in prisons at the state expense. In ancient times, prisoners were always used for the benefit of the country.

Slaves in China were very few. There were more convicts, but still not enough. It was necessary to hire hired workers most often from ruined peasants.

Appointment and functions of the Great Wall of China

As we have seen from history, the Great Wall did not save us from large armies. Its main military function is protection against small groups of nomads, which have always been a "headache" for China.

Монгольские кочевники

The wall did not save from the raiders completely. Small groups of nomads easily overcame it. Their problems arose on the way back, when it was necessary to transfer the loot. That is, the wall did not protect as a military structure, but was an obstacle that detained the raiders.

The main task of the sentries was not to fight the enemies, but to warn them of their appearance. To do this, on the watchtowers lit bonfires. At night, the flame was visible, and in the daytime smoke. The bonfires were lit one by one "along the chain", so information about the appearance of the enemy was transferred to the nearest garrison.

The wall had many more peaceful functions. The first is border control. For example, the "Silk Road" crossed the Great Wall three times. Three times the merchants collected the duty, carried out customs control three times, and searched three times for contraband. Also on the wall were engaged in migration control.

По Великой Китайской стене ходят и сейчас

Even in our time, some countries are building walls to control the migration of the population. For example, the barrier length of 550 kilometers is shared by the US and Mexico. The Americans built it precisely to prevent the illegal migration of Mexicans to the United States. The idea was emphasized by the ancient Chinese people.

The wall carried out the transport function. It was a good long road through which people moved. Even in the worst weather it was easy to walk on it, it was not "razed" by the rains.

And, of course, at some points the wall served as an inexhaustible source of building materials for local residents. As soon as garrisons and sentinels were removed from any site, it was quickly taken away for the construction of houses.

Such a fate befell many ancient monuments. In Egypt, the pyramid of Khafre lost all its facings, except the very top, this plating went to the construction of houses and mosques in Cairo. Roman coliseum townspeople for a long time used for similar purposes. There are many more examples.

The theory that the Great Wall of China was built by the Russians from the Chinese

This topic has long been "exaggerated" on the Internet. We very much like such stories and every year on April 1 we publish a similar article. Read our latest work: " Egyptian pyramids - copies of alien ships " or " Pyramid - the ideal form of a spaceship ."

Бойница Великой Китайской стены
Бойницы и зубья на участве Бадалин
Около Пекина фасад Китайской стены выглядит так
Это видели защитники на стене

This theory is "sucked" from the fact that loopholes in some areas are directed toward China. Further, the authors developed it already with the help of their imagination.

The loudspeakers are really directed in both directions, it's a fact. You can see for yourself if you visit the Mutianyu site. And this is completely normal.

As we have already said, nomads relatively easily crossed the wall on their way to China. The garrisons had almost no chance of catching them at that moment.

On the way back, the nomads were forced to transport not only themselves and horses, but also looted property. It is not worth thinking that the nomads took money and jewels from the peasants only. For nomads, many items were valuable - any metal objects, ceramics and even grain bags were very valuable for the steppe people.

Defenders of the Great Wall of China had a chance to have time to fight only when the nomads were crossing the river. Not surprisingly, loopholes made on both sides of the wall.

As we already mentioned, the stone parts of the wall were built during the Ming dynasty. At that time, the development of Siberia by Russian expeditions was just beginning. Our small detachments of Cossacks could not build any walls.

The construction and maintenance of the Great Wall is well documented from the Chinese side. Hundreds of documents of state reporting, construction plans, estimates and similar papers have been preserved. The fact that the current version of the Chinese wall was built by the Chinese, no doubt.

In simple terms, we encourage you to treat such theories with humor. They listened, laughed, forgot.

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....

Thank you for the article) Only here is not Qin Shihuandi, but simply-Qin Shihuang.
Alexander - GlavRed site

Thanks for the compliment.

Concerning the name of the Great Emperor, you are right. His real name is Qin Shihuang. The end of "di" was appropriated to the rulers of China after death, it means "divine."

But unfortunately, in the traditions of Russian journalism, it is Qin Shihuandi who is to be called the emperor. And I can not help it.

Thank you for the effective comment.
..

The Great Wall of China is on money. At a minimum, a paper yuan of the 1990 sample (there are banknotes of 1996, possibly on the move and now, I do not know) and a coin of 5 yuan of 2002.
Alexander - GlavRed site

All these monetary units are withdrawn from circulation.
Sergei

And I wonder, what the hell, did the Chinese build their wall in the middle of their country? What a crazy idea?
Alexander - GlavRed site

When they built it, it was the border. Then the border shifted.

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