Great Wall of China

Great Wall of China

A series of fortifications built to prevent incursions from northern nomadic groups.

History

Keywords

Great Wall of China, Great Wall, Qin Shi Huang, China, World Heritage, watchtower, defence, fortification, border, emperor, antiquity, nomads, smoke signals, Huns, Middle Ages, tourism

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Questions

  • The intrusions of which nation did the Great Wall prevent?
  • Is it true that the Great Wall is visible from the Moon by the naked eye?
  • Is it true that Great Wall is not visible from the Moon by the naked eye, because it is only a few metres wide?
  • Is the following statement true?\nThe Great Wall is a collection of fortifications and walls of various length.
  • Is the following statement true?\nThe Great Wall is a continuous wall of more than 1,000 km.
  • What is the total length of the sections of the Great Wall?
  • When was the Great Wall built?
  • Which of these statements is true for the Great Wall?
  • Which of these statements is true for the Great Wall?
  • Which statement is not true for\nthe Great Wall?
  • Is it true that the entire Great Wall is intact today?
  • From what direction was\nthe Great Wall preventing intrusions?
  • Is it true that the Wall was built in valleys, to break the momentum of the armies pouring down from the mountains?
  • Which building is not a UNESCO World Heritage Site?
  • Is it true, that there are watchtowers on the Great Wall every few hundred metres?
  • How did the guards send signals?
  • What other 'Great' building did ancient China have?
  • What was stored in the towers of the Great Wall?
  • How far away from each other were the towers placed?
  • Is the following statement true?\nMost of the Great Wall is in decay today.
  • How much of the wall built during the Ming Dynasty disappeared?

Scenes

Great Wall of China

  • watchtower
  • beacon tower
  • wall section

Watchtower

Structure of the wall

  • rammed earth and gravel
  • brick-paved walkway
  • height: 10 m
  • width: 4 m

Structure of the watchtower

  • height: 12 m
  • lodge of guards
  • central room
  • entrance
  • parapet
  • Chinese soldier

Animation

Narration

The Great Wall is a series of fortifications built along the northern border of China. The construction of the wall was ordered by the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang in the 3rd century BC, to prevent incursions from northern nomadic groups. The wall was built to make use of natural features, it was erected on the ridges of hills and mountains. With numerous new sections of wall and fortifications being added over later centuries, the construction was only finished in the 17th century.

The wall has never formed one single structure. The early sections of the wall were built from packed earth and stones. Towers and bastions were constructed at regular intervals at a distance of a bowshot. Sections visible today were added later and made of brick. The defensive function of the impenetrable walls was further strengthened by the communication towers: guards lit bonfires and sent smoke signals to each other to spread news quickly.

The average height of the monumental structure was 10 metres and its width was 4-5 metres. Different numbers are provided by different sources for the total length of the sections, but the most widely accepted estimate is about 7,000 km. This is the reason why the wall has a reputation for being the only work made by human hands on the globe visible from the Moon. In fact, this is not true, since the wall is not wide enough to be seen from a great distance with the naked eye.

Although it fulfilled its purpose, the famous structure has fallen into decay over the centuries. It has been destroyed by natural disasters, and by local peasants, who dismantled it brick by brick.

Today only a short section of the wall is intact, which has been restored for the sake of tourists.
The Great Wall is still the best known symbol of China; it was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Sites in 1987.

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