The Great Wall of China

Essay by jasmine22 March 2009

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The Great Wall of China is an amazing structure. It’s even visible from space!Now, it is a big tourist attraction and a piece of history. Thousands of people visit it every year, and it is now a protected site. But it wasn’t so pleasant for the people that built and worked on it hundreds of years ago. It was also a major part of the ending of the Ming dynasty.

The real first building of the Great Wall was ordered by Emperor Qin Shi Huang (also called Qin Shi Huangdi by westerners or the First Emperor) to protect China from the northern nomadic tribes that wanted to take over China. The Mongols wanted to take them over because China was richer. After attacks from them, the Chinese decided that a protection system was needed. The Great Wall was the solution. Littler walls had been built before, but this was going to be very long and complicated wall to complete.

The building of the Great Wall of China started in 221 B.C. During this time, Emperor Qin Shi Huang ruled. The wall ended in about 39 A.D. with the emperor Guang Wudi. The Great Wall of China took more than 200 years to complete.

The Great Wall of China stretches across the northern part of China throughthe provinces of Liaoning, Hebei, Tianjin, Beijing, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi, Ningxia, Gansu. It isn’t straight across all the way. In the deserts, it is straight. The parts of the wall in the hilly areas twisted and turned. Parts of it was built along mountain peaks. In the eastern end, it lead into the sea.

The Great Wall of China was built with all kinds of materials. Some of them were wood, stone, pounded earth, and bricks. In the western part, the wall was built of woodfilled with pounded earth. That was the only material available in that dry, desert terrain. It was also easy to build, needing only laborers and not craftsmen. The eastern part, which protected the capital, Peking, was built with stone and pounded earth. These materials were strong and durable, but took more work and skilled craftsmen. Each brick had to be made and baked, and stones had to be cut from quarries. The foundation, inner and outer brims, and gateways of the Great Wall were made of stone.

Many people worked on the Great Wall of China. Stonemasons and brick makers were needed to work with the stone and bricks. Soldiers became construction workers and generals became architects and engineers. The farmers, peasants, and slaves were forced to work on the wall away from their families for long periods of time. In the summer time, they had to work sixteen hours a day. The hard work killed more than one million workers. The arduous work of the laborers gave China their protective wall.

The Great Wall of China is one of the longest walls in the world stretching 4,163 miles long from east to west China. Being 2,000 years old, some parts have disappeared or become ruins. Although it is old, it has some appealing attractions of history. The Great Wall of China is has an average height of 10 meters and a width of 5 meters. Itstowers are 40 feet high. The towers are spaced so that any enemy could be shot by an archer. Each tower was about the same because the towers were built with molds. The sections of the wall that connected the wall were also alike because they were also made of molds. The wall was made wide enough so that four horses to travel side by side along the top. Every part of the wall is between 15 and 25 feet thick at the base.

The Great Wall, although an amazing structure, led to the downfall of the Ming dynasty. The government of China required almost everybody to work on the wall, under terrible conditions. To pay for the protection of the wall, the people had to be taxed very heavily. This caused the people to be angry, and they rebelled. The Manchus, one of the nomadic tribes of the north, said they would help, so the Ming opened the gates. The Manchus made the rebels get out of the city, but after that, they claimed the power for themselves.

Today only 30% of the Great Wall of China is in good condition. After the Communist Party was founded, and Chinese people struggled to change their identity, the Great Wall of China was forgotten. The new rulers wanted to get rid of all the things that reminded China of its past, and one of the was the Great Wall. It didn’t have any value to them, so they tore a big part of it down, using dynamite and heavy digging equipment. Sometimes people take the stones from the Great Wall and use it for their building. Also, the natural weathering wears the stones, bricks, pounded earth, and wood of the Great Wall. Luckily, now there are laws about the preserving of it.

The Great Wall of China is now China’s main tourist attraction, and it has been this way since the mid-1980s. Every year, it brings in millions of dollars for China.

The Great Wall of China is a marvelous edifice, especially since it was constructed a long time ago without any help of modern machines. The Great wall has a big historical significance to China. Due to the hard work of the people who built it, the Great Wall is now one of the largest man-made structures in the world.