Great Wall of China

page 6


Great Wall of China

Former name

In ancient times, the Great Wall of China was called the Ten Thousand Li Wall. This name referred to the wall's length (a li is a unit of measurement equaling roughly a half kilometer or one-third mile).

construction methods

While the sections in eastern China were mainly made with bricks and chiseled stones, those in western China were made with less durable materials (often with clay or pounded earth reinforced with tree branches).

Geography and Geology

The Great Wall stretches from a seaport on China's east coast to Xinjiang in China's north west. In between, it passes through a variety of terrains, including mountains, plateaus and deserts.

Width and height

The width and height of some sections are impressive. The average dimensions are roughly 6 meters (18 feet) wide and 8 meters (25 feet) high. The watchtowers normally add about 4 meters (13 feet) to the height.

Watchtower proximity

The Great Wall of China watchtowers are fairly close to each other along many stretches of the Great Wall. Some are a stone's throw apart.

Watchtower strategy

Most watchtowers were not garrisoned at any given time. Troops were regularly redeployed between one and another watchtower. The military goal was to keep the invading enemy guessing how many defending soldiers might be occupying a given watchtower.

What produced
the damage

Weathering through the centuries caused the lion's share of the damage to the wall. Other culprits were local residents seeking free building materials, souvenir-hungry travelers, and uncaring hikers.

Learn More

for Great Wall of China - Page 1

Learn my other
China tips & insights

Wonders of China - Top 10 rankings
China Wonder location map
Chinese cuisine guide
Basic Chinese phrases with pronunciations


Share this page

World's Top 100 Wonders
World's Top 1000 Wonders

Site map
My credentials
About my website and criteria
Reader testimonials