The Great Wall of China is among the largest and oldest architectural monuments in the world and is one of the new seven wonders of the world, part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It seems reasonable to state that the language and culture of the country and its history are closely linked. As a result of acquaintance with the culture of the country, knowledge, skills, and skills are acquired that provide the possibility of intercultural communication. Below, the significance of the Great Wall of China will be shown through the lens of a thorough discussion of its history and essential features.
The construction process of the Great Wall of China began in the 3rd century BC during the reign of Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi of the Qin Dynasty during the Warring States period. In those days, the state was in dire need of protection from the attacks of enemies, in particular the nomadic people of the Xiongnu (O’Maley). The Wall was designed to define the bounds of Chinese civilization and aid in the development of a unified empire rather than a collection of defeated kingdoms.
The construction took ten years and was fraught with challenges. The key issue was a lack of sufficient building infrastructure. There were no roads, and there was insufficient access to water for those working. Their numbers grew to 300,000 persons, and the overall number of workers participating in Qin was estimated to be about 2 million (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica). The construction process engaged slaves, warriors, and peasants. It should be noted that thousands of people perished as a consequence of diseases and overwork.
Popular revolts were sparked by resentment of the Wall’s construction, and it was among the factors that led to the Qin Dynasty’s demise. Until the Qin time, a significant proportion of the Wall was built from the most primitive materials, mainly with the help of earth tamping (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica). Between covers containing sticks or reeds, slabs of clay, stones, as well as other local resources were pressed (Yang and Tan 39). The majority of the materials needed to construct such structures could be found locally. Bricks were occasionally utilized, although they were not burned but instead dried in the sun.
The Great Wall parts that have remained to modern time were mostly constructed throughout the Ming Dynasty. Bricks and stones were among the most common building elements in the period, which made the construction more reliable. During the reign of Ming, the Wall stretched from east to west from the Shanhaiguan outpost on the shores of the Bohai Bay of the Yellow Sea to the Yumenguan outpost at the junction of the modern provinces of Gansu and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica). After conducting an exact extent of research that the traditional Chinese term for the Wall, “earth dragon,” is related to construction materials (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica). Admittedly, stone slabs, which were set near to each other over the levels of compressed dirt, started to be deployed in some locations as early as the Qin dynasty.
The Wall runs along the northern border of ancient China, stretching from the sea coast to the depths of the Mongolian deserts. The length of the Wall is called up to 6 thousand km. It is claimed that the Wall included 25 thousand towers (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica). The Wall was methodically dismantled and fell into ruin notwithstanding numerous years of hard work. The Great Wall nearly fell under the weight of time during the three hundred years of the Qing reign. Only a tiny section near Beijing, called Badaling, was kept in good repair; it acted as a sort of gateway to the capital.
A large-scale edifice like this attracts a lot of folk tales. The idea that it is a complete, contiguous wall created in one go, for instance, is fiction. In reality, the Wall is a patchwork of distinct parts constructed by several dynasties to safeguard China’s northern frontier. One of the earliest references to the myth of the Wall being visible from the moon is in a 1754 letter from the English antiquarian William Stukeley (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica). Stukeley wrote that this huge architectural phenomenon was eighty miles long, which took up so much space on the globe, and in addition, it was visible from the moon.
This is also mentioned by Henry Norman – a journalist and politician from England. In 1895, he reported that in addition to its age, this Wall is the only human creation that can be seen from the moon (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica). At the end of the nineteenth century, the theme of the Martian canals was exaggerated, which is possible that this led to the assumption that long, thin things on the surfaces of planets may be distinguished from afar. The visibility of the Wall from the moon was also mentioned in 1932 in the popular American comic book Ripley’s Believe It or Not! and in the 1938 Second Book of Marvels by the American traveler Richard Halliburton (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica). The Wall was dubbed the world’s longest graveyard during building because a huge number of individuals perished on the job site. Moreover, one million persons died as a result of the creation of the Wall, according to estimates (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica). This indicates the extent to which the government appreciated such an important military object.
Working with the chosen topic, the following interesting facts were discovered. The first item to notice is that sticky rice porridge with a diluted water lime mixture was utilized to install the paving stones of the Wall. In addition, the popular track and field marathon “The Great Wall” is held annually in China, in which competitors run a portion of the route along the Wall’s crest (Pang). Although the Great Wall of China is visible on satellite images from the space station, it is still invisible to the human eye. There is a point in Shanghai where the Wall reaches the waters. It has taken on a different connotation in modern Chinese society. Despite the setbacks linked with its wartime implementation, it is considered an emblem of the people’s tenacity and creative force.
Every visitor to China considers it necessary to visit the Great Wall. Millions of visitors walk over its stones every year. The Wall consists of several parts – other, smaller parts (walls), which also have their name and history. The most visited part of the Wall is located in the vicinity of Mount Badaling, 60 kilometers from Beijing, which was reconstructed in 1957 (Yuan et al. 2). It was after these mountains that the first smaller Wall of Badaling was named. The length of the Wall in this place is about 50 kilometers (Rosenberg). Moreover, according to the Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, in 1987, it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as one of China’s most famous monuments. Furthermore, it is among the world’s most popular tourist destinations, with around 40 million visitors each year.
The great value of the Great Wall in history, culture, art, and architecture helps tourists to get to know China more deeply. The Great Wall survived the rise and fall of the feudal society; its construction continued for more than 2700 years (Pang). Now the ruins of the Wall are found in 16 provinces, cities, and autonomous regions in the Northeast, Northwest of the country, the Yellow River basin, and Northern China. With a width of a meter and a height of 5 meters, this is the unique building in the world, built of bricks and tiles (O’Maley). Strings of tourists strive to climb as high as possible along the Wall that goes to the top of the mountain.
The Great Wall of China is a matter of pride, eons of effort, and supremacy. The administration of the country invests billions of dollars annually in the restoration of this architectural masterpiece in the hopes of preserving the Wall for coming generations. Having touched at least once the history of the Great Wall, one will no longer be able not to return to it again. Hence, it seems apparent that The Great Wall of China is among the most significant wonders of the planet, given its background and its place in today’s cultural heritage of the country.
O’Maley, Tom. “Great Wall: Get to Know China’s Most Iconic Structure.” Lonely Planet, 2020.
Pang, Kelly. “Great Wall of China: Length, History, Map, Why and When Built It.” China Highlights, 2022.
Rosenberg, Matt. “The Great Wall of China.” ThoughtCo, 2019.
The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. “Great Wall of China.” Britannica, 2018.
Yang, Jin and Adrian Tan. “The Ancient Construction Materials and Methods: The Great Wall of China in Jinshanling as a Case Study.” Journal of Construction Engineering and Project Management, vol. 7, no. 1, 2017, pp. 37–49.
Yuan, Xuefeng et al. “Cultivated Land Quality Improvement to Promote Revitalization of Sandy Rural Areas Along the Great Wall in Northern Shaanxi Province, China.” Journal of Rural Studies, 2019.