The Great Wall of China is an ancient defense project which has consumed the longest construction time in the world. Since the the Western Zhou Dynasty (1046 BC - 771 BC), different sections of the great wall have been continuously constructed for more than 2500 years. Scattered in the vast land of northern and central China, the Great Wall stretches over 20,000 kilometers.
From the beginning of the Warring States Period to today, the oldest great wall site has a history of about 2500 years. Even the most commonly visited Great Wall of the Ming Dynasty has a history of four or five hundred years.
The history of the Great Wall can be traced back to the Western Zhou Dynasty (1046 BC - 771 BC). 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 "Chu Fangcheng" (楚方城) in the 7th century BC. Later, the small States, such as Qi, Han, Wei, Zhao, Yan, Qin, Zhongshan also built the "Great Wall of Duke Mutual Defence" to defend themselves.
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).
Almost all the dynasties that ruled the Central Plains of China has built the Great Wall. There are more than ten dynasties, including Pre-Qin, Qin, Han, Sui, Song, Ming, Qing dynasties, which built the Great Wall on different scales.
The Great Wall of the Pre-Qin Dynasty can be roughly divided into the North Great Wall and the South Great Wall according to the object of defense. The main purpose for the great wall is to resist the attack from other kingdoms.
The first emperor, Qin Shihuang unified China in 221 BC. In order to maintain and consolidate the security of the Great Empire, Qin Shihuang began to order the construction of the Great Wall, which connected all the dukes’ great wall and built it into the Qin Great Wall, stretching far for over 10,000 kilometers.
During the period of Emperor Wudi of Han Dynasty (156 BC - 87 BC), he launched many wars against Huns. To expel them, he ordered to restore the Great Wall of Qin Dynasty and built the Great Wall of Outer China. At this time, the Great Wall was about 10,000 kilometers long, and its main function was to attack and defence.
In order to deal with the South attack from the Turks in north, Emperor Yang Jian of the Sui Dynasty used the Great Wall for defense since the founding of Sui’s empire.
The construction began in Mingchang five years (1194) and was stopped in the same year because of drought.
During the ruling period of Ming Dynasty, the construction of the Great Wall hardly stopped in over 200 years. The most common scenic site of the Great Wall belongs to the Great Wall of Ming Dynasty.
The Qing Dynasty was the last feudal dynasty in China. The Great Wall was built to maintain unity. The Great Wall was relatively rough, short and not much preserved.
There are many stunning Great Walls in Beijing offering you the marvellous views, including Mutianyu Great Wall, Jiankou Great Wall, Simatai Great Wall, Badaling Great Wall and Huanghuacheng Great Wall. Exploring the representative Jinshanling Great Wall and the only lakeside Huanghuacheng Great Wall, trekking on steep mountain ridge of Jiankou Great and the near section of the better preserved Mutianyu Great Wall, admiring the famous and renovated Badaling Great Wall, you can encounter different sparking sides of each section and commemorate the man-made wonder of the ancient Chinese people. China Discovery offers you tailor-made tour service, and you can fully experience all the famous great walls in 2 days. If you have more time, it's also recommended to explore other attractions in Beijing, such as the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven, and More!
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