The Great Wall

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Introductions of Great Wall of China

Nearly everyone has heard of the huge stone wall known as the Great Wall of China. The Great Wall of China was built mainly to protect the Chinese Empire from the Mongolians and other invaders. Successive Chinese dynasties all had a hand in repairing, re-building, lengthening, modifying and preserving the Great Wall. There are huge discrepancies regarding the length of the wall.

One account puts the length of the wall at over 3,720 miles. Richard Nixon said it was 2,484 miles long, while Time magazine favored 1,684 miles. What is a fact is that the Great Wall of China extends from Kansu in the west to the Yellow Sea in the east. Ancient records reported that at least one million slaves and prisoners of war were used to build this wall. Many laborers died from exhaustion and starvation while working on this colossal task. Their bodies were added to the rubble and masonry as the quickest means of disposal. For centuries, the Wall was known as "the longest cemetery in the world."

Shi Huangdi was credited with linking the various sections of the wall, which was then known as the Wan Li Chang Cheng (Ten Thousand Li Long Wall), to form what is now known as the Great Wall of China. It twists and winds along hill crests, gorges, and rivers. Its length extends 3,000 miles westward: from the China Sea town of Shanhaiguan to Gansu province. To put this in perspective, it is equivalent to the distance from Los Angeles to Boston, or from London to beyond the Urals mountain chains that separate Europe from Asia.