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Historical Places – The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China happens to be one of the greatest wonders of the world. It winds through grasslands, mountains and deserts for approximately 6,500 km (over four thousand miles). There are several key facts about the Great Wall worth remembering:

* History: The Great Wall was erected as a defense structure by the states of Yan, Zhao and Qin. The wall was extended several times and then underwent numerous repairs and maintenance. The Wall only became the “Great Wall” in the Qin Dynasty, when the walls were brought together to protect against the Han from the north.

* Construction: The walls were constructed by packing earth and gravel between plank frames. The work was done by pure labor – locals, prisoners, and soldiers all worked together to raise the wall, to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire from Xiongnu attacks. At one time, the wall was guarded by over a million men.

* Culture: Even more great wall facts can be learned when we examine the culture behind the wall. In Chinese mythology and symbolism, the collapse of part of the wall is said to have been caused by Meng Jiangnu, who was upset by the death of her husband during the construction of the wall. This legend is widely known in Chinese culture and is taught in their textbooks, as well as in traditional songs and operas.

Here are some interesting facts about the great wall. The wall has survived several dynasties over the years, namely the Jin, Northern, Sui and Han dynasties. Factions from each dynasty repaired and rebuilt the wall to retain the fortification and protection it provided. The Great Wall was revived again in the Ming Dynasty. The Ming built more walls along China’s northern border to keep nomadic tribes out. The Ming, however, used stronger materials, such as bricks, tiles, stone, and lime. Construction went very quickly with these materials.

At the end of the Shun dynasty, the Great Wall protected the empire from the Manchus, who invaded them around the year 1600. The Ming army was able to prevent the Manchus from entering China, but in the mid-1600s, the Manchus seized Beijing when the gates were opened near Shanhaiguan. One of the little-known facts about the great wall is that it is actually several walls, with each wall being built at different times in history, but always with the concept of protection from the Chinese.

Today, the wall is largely in poor condition. Some of the nearby communities used the stones to build their houses and roads. The wall is also subject to vandalism and graffiti. Nobody knows exactly what is left of the wall, but there are facts about the great wall that can never be removed. Even in its current state of disarray, the Wall still represents China in all its glory.

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