The Great Wall

                                       The Great Wall-Beijing

      

The 10,000-li(5000KM) Great Wall of China is a result of arduous works and wisdoms of laboring people of past ages. It was built by more than 20 kingdoms and feudal dynasties over 2,000 years since the Spring & Autumn Period and Warring States Period. It is one of the greatest miracles in the world.

About 6,000 to 7,000 years ago, our ancestors started to migrate from dens and caves to settle down in plain areas. As the population grew and production was developed, they dug deep ditches around their residences to prevent the assaults of beasts and floods. They piled up earth walls to protect the security of clan members. The existing winding fluctuant Great Wall was developed on the basis of the ditches and earthen walls of the pre-history culture.

When it came to the Spring and Autumn Period and Warring States Period(B.C 770-B.C 221), the kingdoms competed for hegemony. In order to defend themselves and protect their territories, the kingdoms built up sections of garrisoned walls in their own lands. The earliest walls were the constructed in Kingdom Chu and Kingdom Qi. Later on, as the wars were continually elevated, kingdoms Wei, Yan and Qin(B.C 221-B.C 206) joined to construct great walls. However, all these walls were separated, thus known as “ground walls”.

Drawing on local materials was a precious experience of the craftsmen learnt in the course of constructing the Great Wall. In order to avoid long-distance transportation and save manpower, materials and finances, they adopted different building materials in places of different geographical and geological conditions. For instance, they built the walls with sands where there were many sands. They pounded loess into walls in the Loess Plateau.

In 221 B.C,Emperor Qinshihuang put an end to the feudal separatist rules and established a unified feudal empire. In order to ensure the safety of the central plain areas and keep them away from the threats and harassment of the northern nomadic Huns, the emperor sent general Mengtian to drive out the Huns. He also invested great many manpower, materials and finances to build the Great Wall.He had many parts expanded to extend 10,000 li from Lintao in the west and Liaodong in the east. Since then, the greatest ancient architecture of the world has towered majestically in northern China.

In the Chinese history, four dynasties built Great Wall more than 10,000 li long. They were the Qin(B.C 221-B.C 206), Han(B.C 206-A.D220), Jin (A.D263-A.D420)and Ming(AD1368-AD1644 )dynasties. The Great Wall of Han Dynasty was the longest, stretching about 20,000 li from Liaodong in the east to Yangtze in the west. Todays Great wall mostly built by Ming dynasty.

Badaling Great Wall in Beijing,about 60km to the northwest of downtown Beijing,is a mountain pass of wooded Jundu Mountain. As recorded in Changan Kehua of Ming Dynasty, “Roads are separated here to extend in all directions. It is thus known as Badaling, the highest of all passes.”

Badaling Great Wall was first built about 1500years ago, was reconstructed when it came to the Ming Dynasty period(AD1368-AD1644 ).

Zhu Yuanzhang, Emperor Taizu of Ming Dynasty, was keenly aware of the military significance of city walls. When he took the throne, he ordered to erect high fortifications and set up defenses for war preparations. Local governments were also enthusiastic to fortify walled cities. Zhu Yuanzhang sent commanders-in-chief Xu Da and Feng Sheng to lead troops to construct Great Wall and train soldiers in the north to prevent surviving forces of Yuan Dynasty to invade the south.

In 1403, Emperor Chengzu Zhu Di, the third ruler of Ming Dynasty, came to the throne. In 1420, he moved the capital city from Nanjing to Beijing. Zhu Di was resolved to unify China. He made five great expeditions, leading troops to penetrate into Mongolia Plateau and go as far as Enen River in today’s Russia (after 1488). After that, he began to launch large-scale and all-round construction of Great Wall. Thanks to a total of 18 large-scale construction projects in 270 years, the Great Wall was finally completed ranging from the Yalu River in Liaoning Province in the east to Bulongji to the west of Jiayu Pass in Gansu Province. This is what we normally say the Great Wall of China. The Great Wall of Ming Dynasty extends 14,600 li, through seven provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities in north China. It is unparalleled compared with previous walls, in terms of engineering technologies and defense levels. In this sense, the Great Wall of China as we have seen today could be dated back to the Spring and Autumn Period and Warring States Period, connected in the Emperor Qinshihuang period, and improved in the Ming Dynasty.

Baaling Great Wall is famous both in China and abroad. It is the earliest section of Great Wall opened to tourists. There is a popular saying in the country, “He who doesn’t reach the Great Wall is not a true man.” To date, Badaling has received 130 million Chinese and foreign tourists. They include 372 foreign heads of states and numerous men of the time, such as Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagon, Margaret Thatcher, Mikhail Gorbachev, Elizabeth II and Edward Heath. This is indeed rate among world famous scenic spots. Visitors are deeply impressed with Badaling Great Wall, with infinite reverie.

Badaling Great Wall, the best part of Great Wall of China, is greeting invasions of tourists of the world with its centuries-old and yet young vigor. People having ascended the Great Wall are all overcome with the marvelous scenes.

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