It is quite simply the landmark of China: The Great Wall of China. The wall is world famous. And due to it’s fame, it’s served as the setting for numerous films, it attracts countless tourists year after year… and it is also one of the many impressive structures that belong to the new 7 wonders of the world!
But what makes a wall so unbelievably interesting that it deserves such important status and is visited by millions? Is it the location, the appearance or something completely extraordinary, and how long is the Great Wall of China? You’ll find the answer to this question and many others you may have below, as I’m now going to tell you everything you need to know about the Great Wall of China!
How long is the Great Wall of China?
Okay, now it’s time to tell you what it is that makes The Great Wall of China so special. First and foremost, is the incomprehensible length of this wall. According to the latest findings, it stretches an unbelievable total length of 21,196.18 kilometres. Yes, you read that right, it is over 20,000 kilometres long! This enormous distance is the reason behind it’s name. Here, it’s called the “the long wall of 10,000 Li”, the number 10,000 also refers to the endlessness of the wall. It contains over 43,000 features and sites, so it’s by no means just an ordinary wall, which is often assumed.
‘The wall has a total length of 21,196.18 kilometres’
Instead, it’s made up of many individual sections, some of which are from completely different eras. The wall was intended to serve as a fixed border and to protect the Chinese Empire from northern invaders. In addition to that, the numerous observation towers were used to alert the guards of danger by using fire signals. This way, the Emperor in Beijing could immediately be notified and send out soldiers. The wall was built in the 7th century BC, after that, the wall continued to develop and other sections were added. The last extension was made in the 17th century, during the Ming dynasty. Today, this 8,851 kilometre section is regarded as the main part of the wall and is the most visited.
Tourist masses are damaging the structure
But what frequently happens with popular tourist attractions? Exactly, it is precisely this congestion that is causing problems. Besides damage through natural erosion, it’s mainly tourists who continue to damage the wall through reckless behaviour and by illegally taking parts of the wall as souvenirs. However, the local farmers are also damaging The Great Wall of China by removing the stone to use it as building material. The damage is so severe that 30% of the wall from the Ming dynasty has been completely destroyed and almost 74% of this section is in bad condition. Only 8% of the wall can still be classed as being in good condition. Many of these areas have already been restored and are therefore especially popular with tourists – and so it will come as no surprise that they are kept in pristine condition.
The best way to experience The Great Wall of China
If you’re already in China, you just have to visit the wall. There are good connections and bus tours from Beijing and a trip with a rental car is also worth it, as you get to see a lot of China’s mountain landscape on your way. It doesn’t matter what kind of visit you are after, there are many different places that I can recommend to you. Very well kept, or rather, well restored sections are Badaling and Mutianyu, both are close to Beijing. Here, you can still get a good impression of how mighty The Great Wall of China was, but you’ll have to put up with many other tourists as these two places are the most popular. If you fancy some adventure far away from the masses of tourists, then visit Jiankou, for example. Here, the wall has never been restored and the paths are classified as impassable – sounds exciting, right?
Myths and secrets of the wall
Something that makes it even more exciting are the centuries-old myths and secrets that surround The Great Wall of China. In the middle of the 18th century, the Brit William Stukeley claimed that it would even be possible to identify the wall from the Moon. This belief has stuck to this day, but it is unfortunately wrong. In no way is the The Great Wall of China visible from the moon, let alone from outer space. The reason for this is that the wall, with a width of 10 metres, is simply too narrow. If you were able to see the structure from space, the same would apply to every slightly wider road in the world.
Information for visitors:
Opening times – Monday to Sunday: 7.30 – 17.30
Admission – depending on the section and time of year: between €4-6
Length of stay – 2 hours minimum
Another absolute must on the way from Beijing to Badaling are the Ming Tombs. Here, you can see some of the most impressive tombs belonging to 13 emperors from the Ming dynasty. Some of the burials are utterly striking and should be on everyone’s bucket list when visiting China. Feel the eerie, but at the same time, breathtaking atmosphere in the tombs and also on Spirit way. The detailed sculptures on the side of the road gave the emperors their last glory on their journey to the afterlife – truly impressive and not just something worth seeing for horror fans!
The distance The Great Wall of China covers and the exciting history it offers is just unbelievable, right? If you’ve already been, I’d love to hear about it! The Great Wall of China is obviously not the only amazing attraction in China. Check out my tips for China in the travel magazine, you’ll be amazed at what else there is to be discovered!
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