The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China was built from the 3rd century BC to the 17th century AD on the Northern border of the country. It begins in the East at Shanhaiguan in Hebei province and ends at Jiayuguan in Gansu Province to the West and runs for over 20, 000 kilometers (Jing, 2015). The body of the wall is comprised of walls, horse tracks, watch towers and shelters such as fortresses and passes along the wall. It has been claimed that The Great Wall of China is the only visible man-made structure from space. It has however been revealed through photographs from space that it is difficult to distinguish the wall in an astronaut photography since the materials used are similar in terms of color and texture with the materials of the surrounding areas. 

The wall is considered as a military project and was built in different areas by different states ot dynasties to protect their borders. It has been indicated that the Great wall was built to prevent invasion and to protect the Silk Road trade. The labor for the construction was sourced from the soldiers, peasants, and rebels (Jing, 2015). The materials used in its construction include stone, soil, sand, and brick. These were delivered to the site either by hand or pulled by rope or a cart. 

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The height of the wall is approximately 5-8 meters. Some parts of the wall appear to be taller as they were built along ridges. The design of the Great Wall helped serve its purpose of being an integrated military defensive system that could accommodate watchtowers, fortresses, beacon towers. The wall body had battlements 1.8 meters high comprised loopholes and crenels. Every 500 meters, there was a flanking tower that made it possible for defender to shoot arrows to invaders at the face of the wall, Fortresses were constructed as important access points referred to as passes and had many archery windows and gates on the forts (Jing, 2015). 

As part of military defense mechanism, the impact of the wall was good in the prevention of invasion from attackers. However, the wall had negative social impact such as separation of families who found themselves at either side of the wall. Similar impacts were produced by the Berlin wall that separate the Western and Eastern part of the City of Berlin. Families were divided on either side of the wall and could no longer visit each other (Nelson, 2014).


Jing, A. (2015). A History of the Great Wall of China. World Scientific.Nelson, S. S. (2014). Berlin’s ‘Palace of Tears,’ A Reminder of Divided Families, Despair. Retrieved from

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