The Great Wall of China has long been a source of legend, mystery and wonder since its construction more than 2,000 years ago. This ancient structure has borne witness to China’s rich history over the thousands of years it’s been standing. It’s a standing tribute to ancient architecture, Chinese military and culture that defies time, nature and distance. Here are seven facts about The Great Wall of China.
Monumental Facts About The Great Wall Of China
1. It Is More Than 2,000 Years Old
The Great Wall of China is approximately 2,300 years old. The first of may series of walls were put up in 221 BC and in the more than 20 centuries since it’s grown to be one of the most important wonders of the world.
2. Sticky Rice Was Used As An Adhesive
The Great Wall is largely made up of natural building materials from Earth and stone. One ingredient used as a binding ingredient was glutinous rice, also known as sticky rice. Interestingly, the amylopectin which causes the rice to be ‘sticky’ has also aided in the wall’s strength over the years.
3. Nearly One Third Has Disappeared
Today the Great Wall of China is 13,171 miles and the longest man-made structure on the planet. However, since it’s peak length during the Ming Dynasty, approximately 1200 miles, or one third have disappeared. Unfortunately, modern archaeological predictions say that the Great Wall may continue to disappear from natural weather and erosion throughout the 21st century.
4. The Longest Cemetery On Earth
A morbid yet accurate nickname for the Great Wall is ‘the longest cemetery on Earth.’ During its construction, more than one million people died building the wall. Many of their remains are within the walls buried behind the thousands of years of stone.
5. “The Cry of Meng Jiangnu”
Many legends surround the Great Wall, but the most notable one is ‘The Cry of Meng Jiangnu.’ The story goes that Meng’s husband died while building the wall. Her cries were so loud that it caused a portion of the wall to collapse and reveal his bones so that she could lay him to rest.
6. The Wall Is Stil Being Discovered
Despite being in existence for over 2,000 years, parts of the Great Wall are still being discovered today. Just in 2012 a section fo the wall was found in the Gobi Desert. It’s also speculated that several northern sections have yet to be identified that lie in Mongolia.
7. “The Earth Dragon”
While “The Great Wall” is the most recognizable nickname to English speakers, the Chinese monument goes by many names. Throughout the centuries it’s been referred to as ‘The Earth Dragon’, The Purple Frontier’ and ‘The 10,000 Li-Long Wall.’ In China, it is fittingly referred to as ‘The Long Wall.’