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Topic – The Great Wall of China

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The Great Wall of China

It is the longest structure ever built anywhere in the world. The Great Wall of China is so long that, if you add together all its branches and portions, it would stretch from the North Pole down past the tip of Florida.

Construction on the wall began about 2500 years ago. Rulers in China’s northern states wanted to mark the boundaries of their territories. They also wanted to keep out invaders from Mongolia. But the wall at that point was actually a series of unconnected walls, so it was easy for the attackers to just go around the sections.

Around 221 BCE, China’s states were joined into one country. That was also when the sections of the wall began to be linked into one long structure. Building the wall was a difficult job that took many years.

Building the Great Wall

An ancient method called hang-tu or “pounded earth” was used to construct the Great Wall. For each section, a wood or bamboo frame was built. Soil was poured into the frame and packed down. Then another thin layer of soil was poured into the frame and pounded down. As the layers continued, the wall grew higher.

Soon the wall section was tall enough that workers had to carry their baskets of soil up ladders, then dump them into the frame. When the section was finished, the frame was removed, moved to a new part of the wall, and reused.

Graceful arches frame the Great Wall’s doorways and windows as the long structure flows across mountains, plains, grasslands, and deserts with elegant twists and curves. Detailed carvings decorate the wall and its towers and gates.

The Great Wall Today

The Great Wall was renovated about 500 or 600 years ago to resemble what we see in modern times. In some areas, the wall is as tall as three storeys and is wide enough that 10 people could walk along it side by side. Long ago, the wall was threatened by attacks from enemy warriors. But now it is threatened by sandstorms that have buried portions, and winds that wear away and erode the wall.

When the Great Wall was built, the Chinese believed there was no culture more important than theirs. Not only did the wall keep other people out, but it also isolated the Chinese from the rest of the world. So Chinese culture developed with little influence from other countries. Inventions and discoveries made in China were secret and unknown outside of the country.

Today, the Great Wall does not separate China from other countries. Instead, it brings tourists from around the world to see this incredible structure.

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