It’s one of the world’s most impressive structures. Barracks and beacon towers were built on it, along with wide moats to make an enemy’s approach more difficult. It was also used to send smoke signals to let people know that enemies were approaching.
But the bits that are around Beijing aren’t the whole Wall. Tame sections give way to wild ones as they run westward.
It was built by Emperor Qin
The Great Wall of China was built out of necessity to protect a rapidly developing civilization from foreign threats. In ancient times, it was a massive undertaking that required thousands of people to work on the project. The workers were required to live near the wall, and they had to plant their food and make clothing and utensils for themselves.
It was an extremely difficult project, and many workers died during construction. The emperors who followed Qin continued the wall’s construction, strengthening and extending it with new materials as building techniques improved. The Ming Dynasty is particularly notable for its extensive improvements and modernization of the Great Wall.
It was built to protect China
The Great Wall was built to protect an expanding China from invasion. It was also a reminder of the unified Chinese state’s heritage and culture. In addition, it was an opportunity to work together as a community and build something for the nation.
The wall was constructed by a massive labor force, including prisoners and criminals. It is rumored that over a million people died during its construction. However, archaeologists have not found many human remains within the walls.
The wall follows mountain ridges and riverbanks, making it difficult to cross for invaders. It is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
It was made of rammed earth
The Great Wall of China was made of rammed earth in some places, especially those on flat terrain or important locations. This was because the walls needed to withstand wind and rain. This technique was especially effective in arid areas where stone was scarce. In these cases, builders used gravel and tamarisk twigs to create a tamped earth layer.
The building of the Great Wall required a massive workforce. Many Chinese were conscripted to work on it, and they endured many hardships in the process. One story that is particularly well-known concerns a woman named Meng Jiangnu, who was conscripted to build the Great Wall.
It was made of brick
Despite its colossal scale, the Great Wall is remarkably fragile. Sections are vulnerable to flooding and erosion. The best sections remain intact thanks to glutinous rice mortar, a strong and waterproof material that seals bricks tightly so weeds cannot grow.
The Great Wall was built in stages by different ancient Chinese states. The first stretches were made of tamped earth and stones, but they were not as durable as the later sections.
During the Tang and Song Dynasties, brick-making techniques advanced significantly, so more of the wall was constructed with them. Passes and walls around the pass used brick on the outside, then mud on the inside.
It was made of stone
The Great Wall of China is one of the world’s oldest monuments. It traces the crestlines of hills and mountains and covers an incredible distance. It is not only a defensive structure but also serves as a national symbol.
In mountain areas, builders used stones to build the walls. On the plains, they used loess soil rammed into compact layers. They also used reeds, tamarisk twigs, and juniper branches to build passes and the walls around them.
Bricks were more advanced materials, which made them convenient to carry and largely quickened the construction of the wall during the Ming Dynasty. They were cut in rectangular shapes and used to build the foundation, inner and outer brims, and many gateways.
It was made of wood
In the early phases of the wall’s construction, a large number of peasants and convicted criminals were conscripted to work on it. They were subjected to extreme hardships. They faced cold, hunger, and exhaustion. They also had to fight against vicious guard dogs and cruel supervisors.
Many of the walls were built from rammed earth and stone. Others were built from bricks. These walls were more durable and could withstand the rigors of weather and warfare.
There is a famous legend about a woman who lost her husband during the construction of the Great Wall. To express her grief, she pounded on the wall.
It was made of metal
The Great Wall of China was built over more than 2,000 years, from the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It stretches from east to west across northern China. It climbs mountains and traverses grasslands and deserts. Its construction used a variety of materials.
Early walls were made of rammed earth and stones, which are relatively sturdy. However, they were vulnerable to erosion and other natural threats.
The Ming Dynasty improved the wall’s strength and durability by adding watchtowers at every crest, trough, and turn. They also added more reliable weapons and sturdier shoes to protect soldiers from Mongol raiders.