The Great Wall of China has long been regarded as one of the greatest wonders of the world and also the symbol of China. It’s well known as the world’s longest wall and biggest ancient architecture but there are many Great Wall of China fun facts that you may not know about.
Top Seven Amazing Facts about the Great Wall of China
#1. Original name of the Great Wall of China
In the past, the Great Wall had many different names such as “fence”, “fortress” or “dragon land”.
According to legend, a dragon directed the construction of the Great Wall for the Chinese. Many people even claim that the Great Wall itself has the shape of a dragon in the mountain. By the 19th century, this architectural work was officially named “Great Wall”.
#2. The built time of the Great Wall
The first major portions of the Great Wall were built by Emperor Qin Shi Huang by linking the small states that were lost during the war. The purpose was to prevent the attacks of the nomadic tribes from the North, a major threat at that time. Nowadays, the Qin Great Wall is only a ruin and lies farther north than the present Great Wall.
After Qin Dynasty, other Chinese kings continued to build new sections. The present Great Wall was built in Ming Dynasty, beginning in the second half of the 14th century and ending in the middle of the 17th century. It is notable that although the Ming Dynasty invested heavily on the Great Wall, the dynasty failed to stop invasion due to Minister Wu Sangui betrayed and opened gates at Shanhai Wall for the Manchurians.
#3. The actual length of this architecture
The actual length is one of the Great Wall of China fun facts. The name of the Great Wall is only symbolic meaning, because each time the length of the wall varies because many sections are damaged or rebuilt. Many people still think that as the longest wall in the world, the Great Wall has a length of 6,276 km.
However, the actual length of the Great Wall is even greater than that, with 8,585 km. The length of 6,276 km only accounts for wall which was built by man; while in fact, it also includes natural borders and large oaks.
The construction of the Great Wall began in the Qin Dynasty. The wall starts at Lintao (Min County, Gansu Province), crosses over 7 other provinces including: Hebei, Tianjin, Beijing, Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Ningxia, and ends at the east of Liaoning Province.
#4. The Great Wall was built mainly by prisoners
Emperor Qin Shi Huang requested more than 500,000 farmers to be assisted in the construction. Most of workers are prisoners. The construction of the Great Wall was a punishment for criminals under the Qin Dynasty and extended to the Ming Dynasty. Prisoners who had committed a crime of murder, robbery, tax evasion would be shaved, blacked their faces and chained foots and then taken to the Great Wall for doing construction and maintenance work.
After that, Northern Wei Dynasty was in charge of the Great Wall construction. About 300,000 people were assigned to build the wall in the south of Datong.
In order to successfully build the longest wall in the world, China has spent more than a century and many have died in construction. The construction workers had to pull the trailers carrying stones in severe weather condition to be able to finish this world masterpiece. The Great Wall is also known as the “longest cemetery in the world” because over million people died in the process of construction. Some people were buried right under the wall.
#5. Sticky rice was used as a mortar to build the Great Wall
The name may sound majestic but in the beginning, the Great Wall was built with clay so it was prone to rain or damage from human. In Ming dynasty, the Great Wall was built of solid brick and thus many long sections remain in good shape until now.
Rumor has it that the type of mortar used to build the Great Wall is human bones is completely wrong. Mortar used to build the world’s longest wall consists of many different materials from clay, rock, debris, wood to limestone. Beside, another Great Wall of China fun fact is that one of the materials to build the wall is sticky rice. This compound was combined with lime to form a special material with excellent adhesion to keep the Great Wall stable.
#6. You cannot see the Great Wall from the space
Many believe that it is possible to see the Great Wall from the moon, but like looking at hair from a distance of 3 km, that is impossible. In fact, contrary to common belief, we cannot see it from the space with naked eyes, even in the Earth’s atmosphere, at the height of 160,000m.
#7. The Great Wall has a different purpose than protecting country’s territory
The Great Wall was built mainly to protect China from the attacks of Xiongnu, Mongolia, Turkic, and other nomadic tribes from Mongolian and Manchurian regions. During the Ming Dynasty, well-guarded watchtowers helped China warn its dangerous enemies and guns were also placed along the wall. The tower was also where soldiers have training and live while being on guard.
In addition to military purpose, the Great Wall also acts as a frontier, where trade and migration laws are enforced. The Great Wall is also where Chinese admire legendary figures such as Quan Yu and Uranus with many historical temples.
Great Wall is unique world heritage as well as the proud of Chinese. Knowing about Great Wall of China fun facts, you will have deeper understanding of beauty in history and traditional culture of China as well as Asia.