The Great Wall of China is known as the Wanli Changcheng in Chinese - the Ten Thousand Li Long Wall. Most scholars now accept that it has never been a single structure with a single purpose, but a constantly expanded and re-built sequence of monuments. Most of what we recognise as the Great Wall was built in the Ming Dynasty in the 14th century, but very large defensive walls were being built as early as 600 bc. The Chinese for Great Wall studies is Changchenqxue.
The wall is the longest man-made structure on Earth but it can’t be seen from the Moon. As the crow flies, it is more than twice the length of Britain but with all its spurs and branches added in it is nearly four times as long. Its height averages from 15-30 feet; its width 15-25 feet . The Jiufeng mountain section is only 70 centimetres wide at its narrowest point. One 1,500 metre stretch is built from marble. It was made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987.
The section of the Great Wall of China that everyone visits, and you always see on TV, is only 500 years old.
A section of the Great Wall was removed near Qian'an as part of the Hongyu Villa Project. Unsightly car parks have sprung up where the wall once stood, and concrete has been used to reinforce the parts left standing. The developer was fined about £7,000 and claimed he'd been trying to preserve the Wall from further deterioration. Another section of the wall in the Shaanxi province of Western China has had more than 40 openings made in it to make new roads.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. Along its length, farmers have regularly raided it to build farm walls and pig stys. The wall has also been subject to natural ravages of weather and the encroaching Gobi desert. Much of the missing wall is buried in sand and the only clue to its whereabouts is the scattered beacon towers protruding out of the sand.
Dong Yaohui, Secretary-General of the Great Wall Society of China walked the entire wall in 1984 - it took him 508 days to complete. Yaohui believes that of the main Ming dynasty wall (built between 1368-1644) less than 20% remains and that of the entire 6,400 km structure, only 2,500 km is still standing.
The first Chinese research station in Antarctica is called 'Great Wall'.
The first person ever to be filmed on the Great Wall for a movie production was Steve Coogan in Around the World in 80 Days in 2004.
One of the most astonishing remains of antiquity now in the world is that prodigious wall.
The entire wall, including all sections, was built over a period spanning 2000 years.