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Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is the world's largest man-made structure ever built. It stretches from the steppes of Inner Asia to the shores of the Yellow Sea, a total length of 8,851 km, a height of up to 16 m, and a width of 8 m, making it the longest wall in the world and the largest man-made object. It is a series of fortifications made of stone, bricks, wood, and other materials, generally built along a line east to west along the historical northern borders of China in order to protect the Chinese states and empires from raids and invasions by various nomadic groups of Eurasian Steppe. Several walls were built as early as the 7th century BCE; they were later joined together to form a longer and stronger wall, now collectively known as the Great Wall. Particular well known is the wall built during the reign of the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, between 220-206 BCE. Little remains of that wall. Since then, the Great Wall has been rebuilt, maintained, and enhanced. Most of the extant wall dates from the Ming Dynasty.

Other functions of the Great Wall included border control, enabling the ruling dynasty to ration or tax goods transported along the Silk Road, regulating and promoting trade, and controlling immigration and emigration. The architectural features of the Great Wall were enhanced with the construction of watch towers, garrison stations, signaling capabilities through the use smoke and fire, and the path of the Great Wall also served as a transportation corridor.

The Great Wall stretches from the east of Dandong to the west of Lop Lake, the path roughly demarcates the southern edge of the internal Mongolian region. Comprehensive archaeological research using advanced technology has found that the Ming dynasty walls measure 8,850 km in length. This includes 6,259 km of actual wall, 359 km of trenches and 2,232 km of natural barriers such as mountains and rivers. Another archaeological study has determined that the overall wall and its various branches are a total of 21,196 km in length.

Great Wall of China, series of fortifications built along the historical border of China

Location: Hebei, Beijing, Tianjin, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi, Ningxia, Gansu, Xinjiang, Shandong, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Sichuan, Qinghai

Height: 5 m

Length: 21,196 km

Width: 4.5 m

Material: limestone

Website: thegreatwall.com.cn/en


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