Many people only think of the Great Wall of China as a great, scenic tourist attraction or as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Although these are all true, the Great Wall is much more than that. Not only is it symbolic to China and its people, the Great Wall is also considered one of the greatest engineering masterpieces completed. However, its important purpose and contributions have made it even more widely known to the world for centuries to come. The Great Wall of China was first built over two thousand years ago by the first emperor of both the Chin dynasty and China, Shi Huangdi.
Its purpose at the time was to drive and keep out the barbaric Northern tribes of Mongols and Huns who regularly attacked and raided Chinese farms and cities near the border. Shi Huangdi appointed General Meng Tien in charge of the construction of the Great Wall as well as over a million slaves, workers and prisoners of war to help build it. The majority of the building took over hundreds of years in which the original lords and workers had long since died. In fact, during this time, the Chin dynasty had also given way to the Han dynasty and its own set of emperors.
However, in the first decade, Meng Tien and his men first began building from the south of the Yellow river. The main materials used during the time were simple stones and mud raised on strong frames since bricks had not been discovered yet. One popular belief is that the amount of stones that contributes to the Wall is equal to the amount of workers lives was lost during its construction. Most of the workers died of exhaustion and starvation from the harsh conditions of the North as well as the overseers.
Ironically, the workers bodies also were added to the walls so that their spirits would strengthen it. The loss of workers and money were major factors to the fall of the Chin dynasty. During the Han dynasty was the time when the construction of the wall really prospered and sped up. Emperor Han Wu Di made extra renovations as well as extending the Great Wall all the way west to the province of Xinjiang. The extra renovations included watchtowers and pounded earth with layers of reed added to the walls for strength. These additions provided better protection
against the tactics used by the Mongols and Huns. Also now any traveler coming into China from the North were stopped by the colossal Wall no matter which road or paths they took. In fact during the Han dynasty was when the Mongal and Hun threats had finally been defeated. After the Han dynasty, many of the smaller dynasties that followed added their own minute modifications but barely changed the Great Wall at all. However, it was during the Ming dyansty that the modern fortifications were made. It was throughout that time period, between 1388-1644, that the Walls as we know it were made.
Some major changes were the changes in height, width, and the design of the Great Wall. For instance, cannons and firepower were now placed at strategic points on the wall to be sure that the Northern tribes would reconsider attacking China again. By the 17th century, the Great Wall of China was already a well-known, if not famous structure. In fact, rumours about it being the only structure that can be seen from outer space based on its majesty and length started to circulate around this time. The rumour that the Great Wall can be seen from outer space is partly true.
It can be actually seen inside the range from outside the Earths atmosphere to the 0. 1% (500 km) of the way to the moon, but from the moon it is hard to even make out continents, let alone man-made objects. The Great Wall of China also got the spotlight for being the longest cemetery in the world, based on the enormous death toll of the construction of the Wall as well as the amount of bodies buried in the foundations. The large number of unexpected deaths contributed to the downfall of many of the weaker dynasties. Even now, you might be still wondering why the Great Wall of China has so much hype and build ups about it.
Well, why is the Great Wall of China so Great? The main and most obvious reason is the fact that without it, China would probably not even exist! And without the country of China, many of the manufactured items, resources and business deals we have and take for granted everyday, would probably had not have been produced, or would have costed a lot more money to buy or make. Just as well, had the barbaric Mongols or Huns taken over China, it wouldve been something like the earlier version of the Holocaust. Thousands of Chinese would have been slaughtered and the new rulers would be filled with confidence.
With that, they would then have tried to conquer the nearby countries such as Korea and India. Although the Great Wall of China was built out of necessity for the protection of China and its people, it will always stand as a magnificent monument representing the ingenuity and inventiveness of the ancient and modern Chinese. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Great_Wall_of_Chinawww. ce. eng. usf. edu/pharos/wonders/Forgotten/greatwall. htmlThe Great Wall of China – by Arthur N. WaldronBehind the Great Wall of China – by Cornell Capa