Great Wall of China Facts

Great Wall of China Facts - 10 Questions about the Great Wall 2023/2024

The Great Wall of China is the landmark of China, one of the most famous man-made wonder in the world. It was constructed by million of ancient people, like a dragon lying atop the steep ridges and mountains, stretching from the desert in the north to the eastern estuary of China's Bohai Sea. How much do you know about it? When, where, and why was the Great Wall of China built, and how long, how big, and how tall is it? There are still questions lingering about the incomparable Wall. Here, we have 10 most commonly asked questions about it, and these interesting Great Wall facts will definitely broaden your horizon to see the walls, beyond just a tourist attraction and ancient relics, and help you have more vivid background knowledge before your Great Wall adventure.


Where Is the Great Wall of China Located?

According to records and field investigations, the Great Wall of China was scattered in 16 provinces, cities and autonomous regions, such as Shandong, Henan, Hebei, Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Gansu, Liaoning, Ningxia, Beijing, Tianjin, Xinjiang, Heilongjiang, Qinghai, Jilin and Hubei (mainly northern and central regions of China). Most of the Great Wall of the Qin Dynasty ceased to exist because of the natural weathering in over 2000 years. Nowadays, the Great Wall for tourism often refers to the Great Wall of Ming Dynasty, such as Mutianyu Great Wall, Badaling Great Wall, Jiankou Great Wall, Simatai Great Wall, Juyongguan Great Wall, Gubeikou Great Wall, Huanghuacheng Great Wall, Jinshanling Great Wall, located in the northern outskirts of Beijing and its surrounding areas.>>Read More

Useful Links:

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Beijing Great Wall Location Map

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Juyongguan Great Wall in Spring

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Historical Photo of the Great Wall taken in Heibei Province


How Old Is the Great Wall of China?

The Great Wall is a man-made architectural wonder with the largest scale and the longest construction process in the world. Almost every dynasty in China has joined the building of the walls since Qin Dynasty (214 BC - 204 BC). The 3 representative ones in the history are, the Qin Great Wall built in 2,200 years ago, the Han Great Wall built in 2,000 years ago and the Ming Great Wall built in 400 years ago (Almost all the Great Wall Attractions in Beijing are Ming Great Walls). However, the oldest Great Wall, "Chufang City Wall" (楚方城) was built by a Duke of State Chu in the Pre-Qin Dynasty (7 Cen. BC – 3 Cen. BC), which endures for over 2500 years.>>Read More

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Who Built the Great Wall of China?

During the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period (770 BC - 221 BC), almost every state has joined to build the great wall in order to defend themselves or attack the other state. After Qin's unification of China, the first emperor Qin Shi Huang (秦始皇), ordered over millions of people to build the great wall and even some male citizens/peasants were forced to work for it with the soldiers, slaves, prisoners. Later, almost emperors in every dynasty ordered to build the Great Wall, including Wudi (汉武帝) of the Han Dynasty (201 BC – 8 AD) and Zhu Yuanzhang (朱元璋) of the Ming Dynasty (1368 AD – 1620 AD), and Millions of the Chinese people constructed the Great Wall. The labor force mainly includes workers, soldiers, forcibly recruited peasants, slaves, convicts and prisoners.>>Read More

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The First Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang

Great Wall of China Facts

The Qin Great Wall Relics at Guyang County, Inner Mongolia (2500 Years ago)


When Was the Great Wall of China Built?

Since the Western Zhou Dynasty (1046 BC - 771 BC), different sections of the great wall have been continuously constructed for more than 2500 years. In order to defend against the attack of nomadic people in the north, the Zhou Dynasty used it for military defense. The earliest building was the "ChuFang City Wall" (楚方城) in the 7th century BC. By the time of emperor Kangxi in the Qing Dynasty (1622 AD - 1722 AD), although large-scale construction of the Great Wall had stopped, it had been built in some places since then. It can be said that the construction of the Great Wall had not stopped for more than 2500 years from the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC - 476 BC) to the Qing Dynasty (1616 AD - 1912 AD).>>Read More

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How Long Is the Great Wall of China?

In China, people always call the Great Wall "Ten-Thousand Mile Long Wall (万里长城 Pinyin: Wanlichangcheng)", but how long is the Great Wall of China exactly? It is officially announced as 21196.18km (13170 miles) in total after a more than 5 years' measurement, among which 8851km (5,500 miles) still exist. 573km (356 miles) of the Great Wall stretches in Beijing, more than 40km (24.9 miles) of which has been restored. Today, the Great Wall we are talking about usually refers to the relatively well-preserved part, which was built in the Ming Dynasty (A.D. 1368-1644). The Ming Great Wall passes through 156 counties in 10 provinces with a total length of 8851.8km (5500.3 miles), of which 359.7km (223.5 miles) are trenches and 2232.5km (1387.2 miles) are natural defensive barriers.>>Read More

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Magnificent Jinshanling Great Wall Stretches in the Mist

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Fairy Tower of Simatai Great Wall


How Tall Is the Great Wall of China?

The Great Wall is not only a single wall, but a complete defensive structure consisting of the walls (main part), watchtowers, fortresses, guardhouses, beacon towers and so on. The average height of the walls is 7.8m (25.6 feet) and the altitude of its highest point is 1439.3 meters (4722.1 feet). In some places it can be as tall as 14m (46 feet). According to current record, the highest point of the Great Wall is in Huanglouwa (黄楼洼). It is 1439.3 meters (4722.1 feet) high, and the lowest point is in Old Dragon's Head or Laolongtou (老龙头) in Shanhaiguan Scenic Area, which equals to the sea level. Generally speaking, the walls built on steep hills and in places with less significance are relatively low and those in flat terrains and critical locations are built high.>>Read More

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How Big Is the Great Wall of China?

The Great Wall of China is the largest man-made structure in the world. But in China, people usually will not use the word “big” to describe the Great Wall. Its Chinese name “长城” means long wall. The total length of the Great Wall is 21196.18km (13170 miles); the average height of the walls is 7.8m (25.6 feet) and the tallest is 14m (46 feet); the width of the Great Wall is about 4-5m (13-16 feet) in average. Nine-eye Tower (Pinyin:Jiuyanlou 九眼楼) of Jiankou Great Wall, is the largest watchtower , located at the border of Yanqing County and Huairou County in Beijing.The biggest pass on the Great Wall remains a question because some passes are close in size and they are usually compared by their importance. The biggest fortress on the Great Wall, Zhenbeitai (镇北台), located in Yulin, Shaanxi Province, is one of the most magnificent buildings of the Great Wall.>>Read More

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Great Wall and Watchtower at Badaling Section

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Construction Process of the Ming Great Wall


How Was the Great Wall of China Built?

Bricks, tiles, stairs and watchtowers on the Great Wall witnessed the laboring of the ancient Chinese people on building this magnificent long wall. Many people joined the construction of the walls, and the artisans and militarists, took the advantage of the natural terrain to build walls, with passes, beacons, smoke piers, and castles, in order to achieving the purpose of defense. As a large projects, the Great Wall was divided into smaller sections and each county should mobilize their people to build the wall and the central government would also send troops and labor from other parts of the country to build in key areas with them. In order to carry large quantities of earthwork, lime, boulders and bricks atop the hill. The builders came up with many ideas, such as using manpower handling, simple machinery, and animals to carry. To hold the bricks without concrete in ancient time, a kind of sticky rice lime mortar was used.>>Read More

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Why Was the Great Wall of China Built

The Great Wall is of a significant defensive military project in the ancient time. However, it is not a simple isolated anterior wall, but a network of gateways, fortresses, and customs offices, forming a complete defense system. In every dynasty, the Great Wall has been put into different use, such as to defend the country itself, to consolidate territories, to expand the empire and protect the trade, to resist Invasion from nomadic tribes, and to suppress the rebellion. Besides military, the Great Wall had a very important impact on the ancient agricultural society. Now, the Great Wall has been restored, and becomes a landmark of China, a famous tourist attraction in China, and attracts numerous tourists from home and abroad.>>Read More

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The Han Great Wall Built for Military Use at Dunhuang, Gansu Province

Great Wall of China Facts

Starry Nightscape of Jiankou Section


Can You See the Great Wall of China from Space?

Built from millenniums ago, some sections of the Great Wall of China were believed visible, seen from space. Actually, you are able to trace the Great Wall by zooming in some certain pictures taken by the satellite, which seems like a confirmation that the Walls of China do deserve the "Great". However, the answer for the rational doubt above about the Great Wall is a capital No, and it's more like a popular urban myth that the Great Wall can be seen with the unaided naked eye from Space. Even astronauts from both China and other countries claimed that they couldn't see the Great Wall with unaided eyes from space. However, there are still high-resolution pictures taken from satellites, which did recorded the wall from space.>>Read More

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