Now for some of those amazing facts I promised you on Monday’s blog. The Great “Wall” is in fact many walls, many stretches of which are not interconnected.
The first portions of The Great Wall were built between 220 and 206 B.C. at the command of Emperor Qin Shi Huang. This “Great Wall” actually incorporated earlier walls constructed as far back as the 5th Century B.C. Most of this original wall no longer exists.
Most of the current existing wall was built during the Ming Dynasty. This later wall is earth encased in stone and brick, whereas earlier construction was mostly of stamped earth and gravel held in place by wooden framing.
So, just how long is The Great Wall? Originally it was believed that if you placed all the various segments together, the wall would measure approximately 5,500 miles/8,850 kilometers. That estimate turned out to be wrong by a considerable margin because it only included the Ming Dynasty portions of the wall. If you include earlier portions you arrive at a considerably longer number — 13,170.69 miles, or 21,196.18 kilometers.
That means you could criss-cross the United States at it’s average width from ocean to ocean almost 4½ times!
Alas, only about 8.2% of Ming-era wall remains today. Most of it has collapsed, and much of what remains — almost 75% — is falling into ruin.
Despite it’s enormity and contrary to popular myth, The Great Wall is not visible from the Moon. Indeed, most astronauts report that it’s not even visible from even low Earth orbit. Despite that, The Great Wall is impressive enough that it should be on everyone’s bucket list.
On Fun Photo Friday I’ll present my favorite shots of this incredible feat of engineering.