Location: North Eastern China (Accessible Through: Beijing, China)
Visited: February, 2010
Background and Opinion:
“What is the Great Wall of China” you ask? No you don’t, no one asks this EVER because everyone knows right? Actually, you might not know as much as you think you do.
First, the Great Wall is not a single wall at all (excellent map here) and would be more appropriately called “The Great Set of Walls.” This name doesn’t sell as many tickets, as you may imagine, so lets just continue calling it the ‘Great Wall’ for now. Secondly, it is built horizontally. While city walls are built in a circular shape to protect from all sides, the great wall was built as a barrier separating the northern people of the steppes (modern day Mongolia) and the Chinese people in the south. Third, it was built by a number of different Dynasties. The wall was started by Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China who, coincidentally, also ordered the construction of the Terracotta Army and was the founder of Unified China (busy guy). It was built from 200 BCE – 1400s CE to protect different parts of China from external threats. Over the centuries, the numerous parts linked up in many places, but to this day, more and more parts of the wall are being uncovered. Something else that you might not know is just how many sections are accessible. There are dozens of entry points from Beijing alone if you know what you are doing.