To the northwest and north of Beijing, a huge, serrated wall zigzags it's way to the east and west along the undulating mountains. This is the Great Wall, which is said to be visible from the moon.
Construction of the Great Wall started in the 7th century B.C. The vassal states under the Zhou Dynasty in the northern parts of the country each built their own walls for defence purposes. After the state of Qin unified China in 221 B.C., it joined the walls to hold off the invaders from the Xiongnu tribes in the north and extended them to more than 10,000 li or 5,000 kilometers. This is the origin of the name Of the "10,000-li Great Wall".
The Great Wall was renovated from time to time after the Qin Dynasty. A major renovation started with the founding of the Ming Dynasty in 1368, and took 200 years to complete. The wall we see today is almost exactly the result of this effort. With a total length of over 6,000 kilometers, it extends to the jiayu Pass in Gansu Province in the west and to the mouth of the Yalu River in Liaoning Province in the east. What lies north of Beijing is but a small section of it.
A Map of the Great Wall
The map shows the Wall running from Jiayu Pass of Gansu Province to Shanhai Pass of Hebei Province. Representative sections of the Great Wall built in Ming times are situated near Shanhai Pass, Gubeikou and Juyong Pass.
The Badaling section of the Great Wall snaking along the mountains northwest of Beijing was built at the beginning of the Ming Dynasty in the 14th century. Being 7.8 metres high and 5.8 metres wide at the top on the average, it has battle forts at important points, including the corners.
Located 10 kilometers south of the Badaling section of the Great Wall and built in an 18.5-kilometre-long valley, the pass has always been an important gateway northwest of Beijing. The name is believed to have its origin in the workers and slaves consc ripted to build the Great Wall in ancient times. Cloud Terrace, built in 1345, was originally the base of a pagoda over looking the main road of the town of the pass. The arched gate of the terrace and the walls inside the arch are decorated with carvings. of elephants, lions, birds, flowers and heavenly kings as well as charms in six languages-Sanskrit, Tibetan, Phats pa (Mongolian), Uygur, West Xia and Han.
The Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, 70 kilometers northeast of Beijing, is linked to the Gubeikou section on the east and the Badaling section on the west. It is one of the best sections of the Great Wall.
The Mutianyu section of the Great Wall is crenelatted for watching and shooting at the invading enemy. Some of the battle forts on the wall are as close as 50 metres apart.
Located in Miyun County northeast of Beijing, the Jinshanling division of the Great Wall, like the Simatai division, belongs to the Gubeikou section of the colossal defence barrier.
The battlements in the Jinshanling division of the Great Wall are built along the ridge of a mountain, where the soldiers can resist the invading enemy by taking advantage of the high terrain.
A decrepit battle fort at dusk often reminds one of the battles in ancient times.
Located to the east of Jinshanling, the Simatai division of the Great Wall is 3,000 metres long and has 35 battle forts. The wall rises and falls with the precipitous mountain ridge, while the battle forts are located high up the hills.
Alarm was raised by means of smoke signals, at night by fire. Smoke was produced by burning a mixture of wolf dung, sulfur and saltpeter. Shots were fired at the same time. Thus an alarm could be relayed over 500km within just a few hours.
The Great Wall in Four Seasons
The Great Wall of China is called the "Ten-thousand-Ii Great Wall" in Chinese.In fact, it's more than 6000 kilometres long. It winds its way from west to east, across deserts, over mountains, through valleys till at last it reaches the sea. It is one of the wonders of the world.
The Great Wall has a history of over twenty centuries.The first part of it was built during the Spring and Autumn Period. During the Warring States Period, more walls were put up to defend the borders of the different kingdoms. It was during the Qin Dynasty that the kingdom of Qin united the different parts into one empire. To keep the enemy out of his empire, Emperor Qin Shi Huang had all the walls joined up.Thus, the Great Wall came into being.
The Great Wall is wide enough at the top for five horses or ten men to walk side by side. Along the wall are watchtow-ers, where soldiers used to keep watch. Fires were lit on the the towers as a warning when the enemy came.
It was very difficult to build such a wall in the ancient days without any modern machines. All the work was done by hand. Thousands of men died and were buried under the wall they built. The Great Wall was made not only of stone and earth, but of the flesh and blood of millions of men.
Today the Great Wall has become a place of interest not only to the Chinese but to people from all over the world.Many of them have come to know the famous Chinese saying: "He who does not reach the Great Wall is not a true man."
I'm very happy today because it's the first time that I have come to visit the Great Wall.
My parents and I took a train and we arrived at about 9 o'clock.
There were many visitors here and many of them were from foreign countries.
My father told me the history of the Great Wall and we took a lot of photos.
When we got home,I was very tired but excited,too.I'm proud of the Great Wall.
My name is Xiaoming and I like traveling very much. Last summar, I went to the Great Wall with my family.
It was fine that day. We went there by bus early in the morning. When we got there, there were many other visitors there. When my family and I went onto the Great Wall, we saw beautiful scenery(风景). We all were amazed(惊讶的) by how beautiful it was. We took quite a few photos there.
We had a good time there. The time flew by, and soon we had to go back. I was tired after traveling, but I really enjoyed visiting the Great Wall!