China Connection Tours, a reputable China tour operator & travel agency from 1987
The Great Wall of China is one of the most awesome sights in the world, and also known in China as the Great Wall of 10,000. It is an ancient Chinese fortification built from the end of the 14th century until the beginning of the 17th century, during the Ming Dynasty, in order to protect China from raids by the Mongols and Turkic tribes. It is a paved, elevated highway that snakes across the hills for more than 3,000 mi/4830 km. It is wide enough for carts and horsemen to travel along the top. A barrier to persistent invaders from the north, it was also a dividing line between settled agriculture on the plain and nomadic life in the mountains. It is built of brick and stone and filled with earth as well as the bodies of conscripted laborers who died building it. Much of it is in disrepair, but several sections have been reconstructed near Beijing. When it was originally built 2000 years ago by the Qing dynasty it was a sturdy "No Trespassing" sign directed at neighboring kingdoms. To peasants in rural areas the Great Wall is less majestically considered as "old frontier". It's a classic and well-preserved example of Ming defense with high and wide ramparts, intact parapets and sturdy beacon towers.
The first major wall was built during the reign of the First Emperor, the main emperor of the short-lived Qin dynasty. This wall was not constructed as a single endeavor, but rather was created by the joining of several regional walls built by the Warring States. The Wall stretches over a formidable 6,350 km (3,946 miles), from Shanhai Pass on the Bohai Gulf in the east, at the limit between China proper and Manchuria, to Lop Nur in the southeastern portion of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. It was located much further north than the current Great Wall, and very little remains of it. A defensive wall on the northern border was built and maintained by several dynasties at different times in Chinese history. The Great Wall that can still be seen today was built during the Ming Dynasty, on a much larger scale and with longer lasting materials (solid stone used for the sides and the top of the Wall) than any wall that had been built before. The primary purpose of the wall was not to keep out people, who could scale the wall, but to insure that semi-nomadic people on the outside of the wall could not cross with their horses or return easily with stolen property.
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