Great Wall of China Facts

The Great Wall of China is an extremely old wall in the north of China. The Great Wall is over 2,000 years old and was built to protect China from attacks by enemies in the north. Soldiers guarded the Great Wall and looked for enemies – and they had a lot of wall to guard! The Great Wall is actually a series of walls built separately and later joined up. The total length of the wall is 13,170 miles. It’s the longest structure ever built. Naturally, lots of people want to visit something as special as that, so today the wall is both a symbol of China and a very popular tourist attraction.

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Great Wall of China Facts for Kids

 

  • The Great Wall was not all built at the same time. The first sections were built in the 7th century B.C. but the wall was added to and changed many times over the centuries. It was almost entirely rebuilt between 1368 and 1644. During this time, China was ruled by the Ming dynasty. Most of the sections of the wall that exists today were built during that time.
  • Millions of people helped to build the Great Wall, many of them soldiers, criminals or common people. It was dangerous work and thousands of workers died during construction.
  • The first sections of wall were made of earth, stones and wood. Later on, bricks, tiles and stone were used instead. During the Ming dynasty, workers even used a paste made out of sticky rice to stick the bricks of the wall together!
  • Thousands of watchtowers were built along the Great Wall. The watchtowers are where soldiers used to keep a lookout for enemies. If they spotted an enemy, they lit a fire at the top of the tower or sent smoke signals. Supplies and equipment were stored inside the towers. This is also where the soldiers slept.
  • Much of the Great Wall is high up in the mountains. This meant that enemy armies were pretty tired by the time they reached the wall – and were therefore easier to fight! When soldiers saw enemies coming, they fired arrows at them and rolled huge stones off the wall onto them. If that didn’t work, there were soldiers on horseback that would charge at the enemy.
  • The Great Wall stretches across 15 different provinces of China! There are sections of the Great Wall as far east as the Hebei province, near Beijing and as far west as the Gansu province.
  • In some places, the Great Wall is pretty wide – some sections of it are even wide enough to drive a car along, or for ten people to walk next to each other.
  • There have been many battles at the Great Wall, but the most recent one was in 1938. This was a battle between the Empire of Japan and the Republic of China. Today you can still see bullet marks in the wall at Gubeikou from this battle!
  • Over 10 million people visit the Great Wall of China each year. Most of them visit the sections of the wall near Beijing, such as Bedaling. This is supposed to be the most complete section of the Great Wall.
  • There is a myth that the Great Wall can be seen from outer space – just by simply looking and without using anything like a telescope. This is, however, just a myth!

 

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Question: How tall is the Great Wall of China?
Answer: Most of the wall is around 20 to 23 feet high. The tallest section is 46 feet!

Question: Did the Great Wall always keep enemies out?
Answer: No, sometimes enemies did get past the wall. In the 13th century, the Mongolian leader Genghis Khan and his men got past the wall and successfully invaded China.