The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China is the world's longest human-made structure in the world, stretching
over approximately 6,400 km from Shanhaiguan in the east to Lop Nur in the west.
The Great Wall is one of the greatest wonders of the world and was listed as a World
Heritage monument in 1987. Just like a gigantic dragon, the Great Wall winds up and down
across deserts, grasslands, mountains and plateaus. With a history of more than 2000 years,
some of the sections are now in ruins or have disappeared. However, it is still one of the most
appealing attractions all around the world owing to its architectural grandeur and historical
In terms of construction, the building of the Great Wall spanned over 2,000 years, from 476
BC - 221 BC) to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It is also the largest human-made structure
ever built in terms of surface area and mass. At its peak, the Wall was guarded by more than
one million men. It has been estimated that somewhere in the range of 2 to 3 million Chinese
people died as part of the long project of building the wall.
The first part of the wall was built during the reign of the First Emperor, the main emperor of
the short-lived Qin dynasty. This wall was not constructed as a single endeavor, but rather
was created by the joining of several regional walls built by the Warring States. It was located
much further north than the current Great Wall, and very little remains of it. A defensive wall
on the northern border was built and maintained by several dynasties at different times in
Chinese history. The Great Wall that can still be seen today was built during the Ming
Dynasty, on a much larger scale and with longer lasting materials (solid stone used for the
sides and the top of the Wall) than any wall that had been built before. The primary purpose
of the wall was not to keep out people, who could scale the wall, but to insure that seminomadic people on the outside of the wall could not cross with their horses or return easily
with stolen property.
There have been four major walls:
476 BC (the Qin Dynasty)
1st century BC (the Han Dynasty)
1138 - 1198 (the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period)
1368-1644 (from Hongwu Emperor until Wanli Emperor of the Ming Dynasty)
Following a 45-day long survey of 101 sections of the Wall in different provinces, the China
Great Wall Academy reported on December 12, 2002 that the forces of nature and
destruction by mankind are bringing about gradual reduction of extent of the Wall with the
result that less than 30% remains in good condition. The Academy has called for greater
protection of this important relic.
Unfortunately, much of the Wall is now in ruins, but some parts of the Great Wall of China
have been repaired and are popular tourist attractions. Thousands and thousands of people
visit each year.
Please make sure that you write the questions. All answers will need to be written in
complete and detailed sentences.
1. How many major walls have there been?
2. How long is the Great Wall of China and which two places does it stretch between?
3. In which year was the Great Wall listed as a World Heritage monument?
4. How many Chinese people died during the construction period?
5. What was the main reason the Great Wall was built?
6. Which dynasty built the wall that we can see today?
7. What are some of the ‘forces of nature’ that are causing destruction of some parts of
the wall?
8. How is the Great Wall of China like a gigantic dragon?
9. What do you think the Great Wall is an important monument in Chinese society?
10. What do you believe could be done to repair damaged sections of the Great Wall?