CONSTRUCTION OF THE WALL
The Great Wall is reputed as one
of the seven construction wonders in the world not only for its long history,
but its massive construction size, and its unique architectural style as well.
The construction of the Great Wall began between the 7th and 8th centuries B.C.
when the warring states built defensive walls to ward off enemies from the
north. It was only a regional project then. Until the Qin Dynasty, the separate
walls were joint together and consequently it stretched from east to west for
about 5000 thousand kilometers and served to keep nomadic tribes out. The Wall
was further extended and strengthened in the succeeding dynasties. Especially
during the Ming dynasty when the northern nomadic ethnic groups became very
powerful, the Ming rulers had the Wall renovated 18 times. As a result, not the
remains from the Qin dynasty were restored, but some 1000 kilometers were
constructed to a full length of 6,700 kilometers.
The architectural style of the Great wall is a marvel in the history of
construction in the world. Since the weaponry only consisted of swords and
spears, lances and halberds, and bows and arrows in the ancient times, walls
with passes, watchtowers, signal towers, together with moats became an important
strategy. To ensure the safety of the dynasties, the feudal rulers strove to
improve the construction of the Great Wall after it took shape in the Qin
dynasty. In particular, the Ming dynasty saw the creation of a sophisticated
defense system along the wall embracing garrison towns, garrison posts, passes,
blockhouses, additional wall structures, watchtowers and beacon towers, each
given a different status and designed mission. The system enabled the imperial
court to stay in touch with military and administrative agencies at various
levels, including those at the grassroots, and provided the frontier troops with
facilities to carry out effective defense.
The Great wall we see today is
mostly from the Ming dynasty. With an average height of 10 meters and a width of
5 meters, the wall runs up and down along the mountain ridges and valleys from
east to west. It stands as a witness of the Chinese history, culture and