History of human civilization is full of evidence of ingenuity and artistry of architects. One of the indisputable evidence of this is certainly the Great Wall of China. This is the one construction that can be seen from space with the naked eye. The Great Wall is the greatest defensive structure of the old China and one of the architectural wonders of human civilization. The construction lasted over two thousand years. The wall stretches from the east to the west of China, passing over the mountains, steppes and deserts. There aren’t many examples of ventures that had been being built for so long and expand to such a vast expanse. A few centuries ago the Great Wall was counted among seven world wonders.
As you walk the walls of this magnificent construction, gazing upon the endless vastness intersected by numerous mountain peaks, while the wind carries the sand from the Gobi desert into your hair, you can not resist wondering how it all originated. What made those thousands of nameless people leave their lives in this place where you stand now while building this grand structure? Is it a monument to the human need for grandiosity, or was it the need and necessity?
The Great Wall of China wasn’t built as a unified whole. What we know today as the Great Wall of China is in fact a combination of several different projects that have emerged over two thousand years. Great Wall of China was created in stages and as a set of unrelated defensive walls built by different dynasties. Construction began during the Qin dynasty (from 221 to 207 BC) and the emperor Qin Shi Huang. In order to protect the land from the intrusion of nomadic tribes from the north, the emperor started building a 5000 km long wall. Great walls were also raised by the Han dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) and Ming dynasty – each was over 5,000 km long. The longest wall is the one from the time of the Han Dynasty – over 10,000 km long, it was built on the ruins of the Great Wall of Qin dynasty. The part of the Great Wall, which stretches west from the Hoang-Ho River, built during the Han Dynasty, provided an unobstructed traffic along the Silk Road to Central Asia, which insured commercial and cultural exchanges between China and countries in Asia and Europe. The last built was the wall from the Ming dynasty, which is the most beautiful example of defensive architecture. The construction itself lasted over 200 years, and what we see now of the Great Wall are actually just the remains of the wall built during the Ming Dynasty. The main body of the Great Wall is over 5,000 km long and it connects tens of thousands watch towers.
Today, the ruins of the Great Wall can be found in the provinces in northern China, especially in the area along the flow of the Hoang –Ho River. It is estimated that the total length of all branches of the wall is over 50,000 km long. The Great Wall of China is the biggest attraction and one of the most interesting tourist destinations. It was placed under the protection of the state in 1961 and since 1987 it’s on the UNESCO’s world heritage list.