There is no other structure in the world that would cause so much interest among scientists, tourists, builders and astronauts, like the Great Wall of China. Its construction gave rise to many rumors and legends, deprived hundreds of thousands of people of life and cost a lot of financial expenses. In the story of this grand building, we will try to uncover secrets, solve riddles and briefly answer many questions about it: who built it and why, protected the Chinese from whom, where is the most popular building site, can you see it from space.
The reasons for the construction of the Great Wall of China
During the period of the Fighting Kingdoms (from the V to the II century BC.), The larger Chinese kingdoms absorbed smaller ones with the help of invading wars. Thus, the future united state began to form. But while it was fragmented, separate kingdoms were subject to raids by the ancient nomadic Hun people, who came to China from the north. Each kingdom built protective fences on separate parts of its borders. But ordinary earth served as material, therefore defensive fortifications were eventually erased from the face of the earth and did not reach our times.
Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi (III century BC), who became the head of the first united kingdom of Qin, gave rise to the construction of a defensive-defense wall in the north of his possession, for which new walls and watchtowers were erected, uniting them with the already existing ones. The purpose of the buildings being built was not only to protect the population from attacks, but also to designate the borders of the new state.
How many years and how to build a wall
For the construction of the Great Wall of China was used a fifth of the total population of the country, which is about a million people in 10 years of basic construction. Peasants, soldiers, slaves and all the criminals sent here as a punishment were used as labor.
Considering the experience of previous builders, not rammed earth, but stone blocks, were laid at the base of the walls, sprinkling them with soil. The subsequent rulers of China from the Han and Ming dynasties also extended the line of defense. Stone blocks and bricks fastened with rice glue with the addition of hydrated lime have already been used as materials. It is precisely those sections of the wall that were built during the Ming dynasty in the XIV – XVII centuries that were fairly well preserved.
The construction process was accompanied by many difficulties associated with nutrition and difficult working conditions. At the same time it was necessary to feed and water more than 300 thousand people. This was not always possible in a timely manner, therefore, human casualties numbered in tens, even hundreds of thousands. There is a legend that during the construction of all the dead and dead builders laid in the base of the building, because their bones served as a good bond of stones. People even called the building “the longest cemetery in the world.” But modern scientists and archaeologists disprove the version of the mass graves, probably the majority of the bodies of the dead were given to relatives.
Answer the question how many years built the Great Wall of China, definitely not. Volumetric construction was carried out for 10 years, and from the very beginning to the last completion, about 20 centuries passed.
Sizes of the Great Wall of China
According to the latest calculations of the size of the wall, its length is 8.85 thousand km, while the length with branches in kilometers and meters was calculated on all sites scattered throughout China. The estimated total length of the building, including those that have not been preserved, from today to the end would be 21.19 thousand km.
Since the location of the wall goes mainly through the mountainous territory, passes both along the mountain ridges and along the bottom of the gorges, its width and height could not be maintained in single figures. The width of the walls (thickness) is within 5-9 m, while at the base it is about 1 m wider than at the top, and the average height is about 7-7.5 m, sometimes up to 10 m, the outer wall is supplemented rectangular teeth up to 1.5 m. Brick or stone towers are built along the entire length, with loopholes pointing in different directions, with armories, viewing platforms and guard rooms.
During the construction of the Great Wall of China, according to the plan, the towers were lined up in the same style and at the same distance from each other – 200 m, equal to the boom’s flight distance. But when old sites are connected with new ones, sometimes towers of another architectural solution are bumped into the harmonious pattern of the walls and towers. At a distance of 10 km from each other, the towers complement the signal towers (high towers without internal content), from which the sentinels observed the surroundings and in case of danger were supposed to give the next tower a signal with a fire of a divorced campfire.
Is the wall visible from space?
Enumerating interesting facts about this building, often everyone mentions that the Great Wall of China is the only man-made structure that can be seen from space. Let’s try to figure out if this is true.
Assumptions that one of the main sights of China should be seen from the moon, set out a few centuries ago. But no astronaut in the flight reports made a report that he could see her with the naked eye. It is believed that the human eye from this distance is able to distinguish objects with a diameter of more than 10 km, and not 5-9 m.
It is also impossible to see it from the Earth’s orbit without special equipment. Sometimes the objects in the photo from space, made without magnification, are mistaken for the outlines of the wall, but with the magnification it turns out that these are rivers, mountain ranges or the Grand Canal. But through binoculars in good weather, you can see the wall, if you know where to peer. Enlarged photos from the satellite allow you to see the fence along the entire length, to distinguish the towers and turns.
Was a wall needed?
The Chinese themselves did not think that they needed the wall. After all, for many centuries she had taken strong men to the construction site, most of the state’s income was spent on its construction and maintenance. History has shown that it did not provide special protection to the country: the nomads of the Huns and the Tatar-Mongols easily crossed the barrier line in destroyed areas or on special roads. In addition, many of the sentry officers let in troops of the attackers in the hope of escape or receive a reward, so they did not give signals to the neighboring towers.
In our years, the Great Wall of China made a symbol of the resilience of the Chinese people, created from it a business card of the country. Everyone who has visited China seeks to go on an excursion to an accessible site of sightseeing.
Current state and tourist attraction
Most of the fence today needs full or partial restoration. Particularly deplorable state in the northwestern section of Minqin county, where powerful sandstorms destroy and fall asleep masonry. Great damage to the building is done by the people themselves, dismantling its components for the construction of their homes. Some sites were once demolished by order of the authorities in order to make room for the construction of roads or villages. Contemporary vandal artists paint the wall with their graffiti.
Realizing the attractiveness of the Great Wall of China for tourists, the authorities of large cities restore parts of the wall that are close to them and lay sightseeing routes to them. So, near Beijing there are areas Mutyanyuy and Badalin, which became almost the main attractions in the metropolitan area.
The first section is located 75 km from Beijing, near the city of Huaizhou. On the Mutianyu site, a part of 2.25 km long was restored with 22 guard towers. The site, located on the crest of the ridge, is distinguished by a very close construction of the towers to each other. At the foot of the ridge is a village where the personal and sightseeing transport stops. You can reach the top of the ridge on foot or using the funicular.
Closest to the capital is the Badalin section, they are separated by 65 km. How to get here? You can come by sightseeing or regular bus, by taxi, private car or train express. The length of the accessible and renovated site is 3.74 km, height is about 8.5 m. By the way, the name “Badalin” translates as “giving access in all directions.” During the 2008 Olympic Games, near Badalin was the finish line of the group road cycling race. Every year in May, a marathon is held, in which participants need to run 3800 degrees and overcome ascents and descents, running along the crest of the wall.
The Great Wall of China was not included in the list of “Seven Wonders of the World”, but the modern public has included it in the list of “New Wonders of the World”. In 1987, UNESCO took the wall under its protection as a World Heritage Site.