Tuesday, July 07, 2009

China # 10 The Great Wall

The Great Wall of China was built over 2,000 years ago, by Qin Shi Huangdi, the first emperor of China during the Qin (Ch'in) Dynasty (221 B.C - 206 B.C.). In Chinese the wall is called "Wan-Li Qang-Qeng" which means 10,000-Li Long Wall (10,000 Li = about 5,000 km).

After uniting China from seven Warring States, the emperor connected and extended four old fortification walls along the north of China that originated about 700 B.C. (over 2500 years ago). Armies were stationed along the wall as a first line of defense against the invading nomadic Hsiung Nu tribes north of China (the Huns). Signal fires from the Wall provided early warning of an attack.

The Great Wall is one of the largest building construction projects ever completed. It stretches across the mountains of northern China, winding north and northwest of Beijing. It is constructed of masonry, rocks and packed-earth. It was over 5,000 km (=10,000 Li) long. Its thickness ranged from about 4.5 to 9 meters (15 to 30 feet) and was up to 7.5 meters (25 feet) tall.

During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the Great Wall was enlarged to 6,400 kilometers (4,000 miles) and renovated over a 200 year period, with watch-towers and cannons added.
It is an amazing construction but it's estimated that several million Chinese lost their lives in the construction of this project. It also was guarded by about a million men during the Ming Dynasty. All along the wall at frequent intervals are the old watch towers. As we approached the wall this is one of the first views I got (taken on phone camera).
What you can't see from the photos is that the steps vary in height and this does make it quite difficult to get into a rhythm for climbing and descending.

I only went up a couple of levels and there were hand rails for poor old souls like me. Very rusty handrails that left you with bright orange hands at the end of the descent.The views are well worth the climb.
Two of our party dressed in tradition costumes.

Archives: 2008: Fun Monday-73 Fishy Tale or Two
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At 7/7/09 14:31, Blogger Pamela said...

I'm so glad you had someone shoot one of you on the stairs.

I hate to have photos of me -- but I sure love seeing everyone else on their blog.

Pretty jealous here of that trip.

At 7/7/09 14:56, Blogger Beccy said...

Looks very steep to me! I knew it was very long but didn't realise so many people died in its construction or that a million people were needed to guard it. That's really interesting.

At 7/7/09 16:19, Blogger MarmiteToasty said...

I show a telly programme last year on the great wall of china as they went from one end to the other explaining what all the little buildings were for and the villages the wall passed through etc..... how lucky you are to of been there... great photos as usual..


At 7/7/09 16:40, Blogger ChrisB said...

Pamela I know what you mean. I'm not that keen on photos of me any more.

Beccy the history is very interesting.

Marmie I think I might have watched that programme. There are places (not where we went) that are little more than a dirt track.

At 7/7/09 17:40, Blogger john.g. said...

Super photos Chris! My Dad has been there a few times and he was taken aback by the scale of it!

At 7/7/09 17:53, Blogger Sam said...

like this

At 7/7/09 22:42, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris I loved this and I have to thank you as I am now able to share this with my dad who has longed to go to China. He's going to be so pleased to see your photos.
I bet I end up showing him all your China entries!
Keep sharing them Chris, you write so well and I was engrossed from beginning to end. I doubt I'll ever get to China but I reckon you have taken me as close as I can get for now.
An old school friend of mine has recently got in touch via friends reunited and she is now living in Shanghai. I'll be able to pinch info from here and impress her with my knowledge! hehe

At 8/7/09 17:54, Anonymous Karmyn R said...

These pictures make me want to go there right now!!!!!

At 8/7/09 17:56, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, spectacular!

At 9/7/09 12:02, Blogger Little Miss Moi said...

dear chris. What a trip of a lifetime. I'd love the see the great wall, and your photos have really brought it to life for me!

At 9/7/09 14:56, Blogger ChrisB said...

Lisa lovely to see you here.

Karmyn I still can't believe I was lucky enough to get there. Seems they are having a lot of trouble in some parts at the moment.

LMM it was a wonderful trip and I realise just how fortunate I am to have had the experience.

At 9/7/09 14:57, Blogger ChrisB said...

Daffy hope your dad enjoys the pictures. By the time I've finished everyone will be fed up with pictures of China.


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