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Friday, 19 June 2009

The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is one of the world’s most amazing sights, it is known as the longest construction project on earth, though its total length is not very precise, although many people say that it´s more than 6700 km long. The Great Wall was built during various successive Dynasties, in order to defend China’s northern borders against invaders; however, the wall did not succeed on doing this. The Great wall was built exclusively by human hands, although some animals were used to bring materials to the building site.

The most famous Dynasty is the “Qin Dynasty” which dates back to the 3rd century B.C. It was the great Emperor Qin Shi Huang who ordered the construction of this gigantic undertaking. However, there are no historical records indicating the precise length and route of the Qin Dynasty wall because most it eroded away over the centuries and very little of it remains. The second dynasty to add to the Great Wall was the "Han Dynasty". The most notable contribution of the Han Dynasty is that they extended the Great Wall westwards through the Gobi Desert. The walls that we see today are of the “Ming Dynasty” (1368 – 1644), they built the biggest, longest, strongest and most elaborated Great Wall ever. The Ming devoted considerable resources to repair and reinforce the walls. Uundetected portions of the wall, built during the Ming Dynasty, were recently discovered. The sections had been submerged over time by sandstorms that moved across the arid region.

All along the Great Wall, there are many watchtowers, spaced from less than a kilometer to several kilometers apart. These watchtowers were used to transmit military messages. Fire and smoke were the most efficient means of communication – fire was used at night and smoke was used during the day.
The Great Wall is now a major attraction in China with sections of the wall being restored for this purpose – the most popular one is near Beijing. To facilitate the tourists, several sections of the wall have been made into museums.

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