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The Great Wall of China – Yesterday, Today and in the Future

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The Great Wall of China was built to protect the Chinese Empire from marauders from the north. The first sections were built in the seventh century BC. At that time, China was segmented into many small states and political municipalities of varying sizes.



Scores of troops, conscripts, and others were used to construct the Great Wall of China. The materials employed were those available proximate to the wall itself. Near Beijing, the wall is constructed from quarried limestone blocks. In other locations, it is made of quarried granite or fired brick. Where such materials are used, two finished walls are erected with packed earth and rubble fill placed in between with a final paving to form a single unit.

In some areas the blocks were cemented with a mixture of gooey rice and egg whites. In the extreme western desert locations, where good materials are in scarce supply, the wall was constructed from dirt packed between rough wood secured with woven mats.

The wall consists mainly of three types of structures; namely, beacon towers for defense and soldier accommodation, walls for fortification purposes, and passes for allowing troop and delivery-route movements in various political subdivisions.

The Great Wall is high – high enough that you would need scaling ladders. There were garrisons of soldiers posted along the wall route. They lived in little turrets built to be observation posts. Anyone mounting a ladder to scale the wall would have to face armed soldiers at the top. This defensive arrangement slowed invaders considerably but not totally.

After subjugating and uniting China from seven Warring States, the emperor began what would become the Great Wall by connecting and extending four old fortification walls along northern China circa 700 B.C. Armies were stationed along the wall as a first line of defense against the invading nomadic Hsiung Nu tribes north of China (the Huns). Signal fires from the Wall provided early warnings of an attack.

When first built, the structure was envisioned as a group of independent walls for different states. The term Great Wall came into use in the Qin Dynasty. Emperor Qin Shihuang succeeded in his effort to have the walls joined together to ward off invasions from the Huns in the north. From then on, the Great Wall has served as a monument to the Chinese nation.

The Great Wall traverses great deserts, plains, grasslands, mountains, and plateaus. It stretches nearly 8,851.8 kilometers (5,500 miles) from the east to west. A few of the sections are now in ruins or have worn away to practically nothing. Nonetheless, the structure remains one of the most sought-after attractions on earth because of its architectural splendor and continuing historical significance.

The Great Wall we see today was constructed in great part during the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644). The structure starts from the Hushan Great Wall in the east to Jiayuguan Pass in the west, crossing Liaoning, Hebei, Beijing, Tianjin, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Shaanxi, Gansu, and Qinghai. The Great Wall isn’t actually a single, continuous wall – it’s a series of separate fortifications linked by hill defenses, rivers, and trenches of various depths.

Over the centuries, the Great Wall was rebuilt, modified, and extended. For over 2,000 years, millions of Chinese people were drafted to work on the task. The primary purpose was to protect the Chinese Empire from the Mongolians and other invaders. In some areas, two walls built in multiple dynastic periods can be seen alongside each other.

Defensive works such as forts, passes, and beacon towers were built along the Wall to house auxiliary soldiers and conscripts, store grain, conceal weapons, and transmit strategic military field data.

The structure evolved from continuing clashes between agricultural and nomadic economies. As such, the Great Wall provided protection for continuing economic development and cultural progress. It safeguarded the trading routes such as the historic Silk Road, and secured transmission of information and transportation.

Today, less than 30% of the Great Wall remains in good condition. Various preservation societies have called for greater protection of this important relic.

The construction of the Great Wall continued until the beginning of the Qing Dynasty (1644). Now, several sections of the wall have been restored as tourist attractions, and in other places the wall is quite well preserved.

In spring, when trees and plants turn green, the Great Wall wanders among the burgeoning vegetation. Everything looks so full of life. Spring is the time to avoid the tourist crowds of the summer and autumn. Visitors then should expect temperatures varying from 10 to 25ºC (50-77ºF).

The Great Wall will be protected by evolving statutes, according to Dong Yaohui, secretary-general of the China Great Wall Society. Legal protections will focus on protecting the Great Wall, attached buildings, and surroundings in the Beijing area. Intrepid hikers will not be permitted to explore unprotected sections of the Great Wall around Beijing.

The Ming wall construction is what remains today. It runs from Shanghai Pass in Hebei province to Jiayuguan Pass in Gansu province at the edge of the Gobi Desert. There is not much to see in the last 500 kilometers (310 miles) as little remains except for broken stones and rubble.

In the future, parts of the Great Wall may be utilized as roadways for small vehicles. The structure could be useful for laying solar energy panels to power adjoining municipalities for centuries to come. In any case, the Great Wall continues to be an international tourist attraction for visitors throughout the world.

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About Dr Joseph S Maresca

I've taught approx. 34 sections of collegiate courses including computer applications, college algebra, collegiate statistics, law, accounting, finance and economics. The experience includes service as a Board Director on the CPA Journal and Editor of the CPA Candidates Inc. Newsletter. In college, I worked as a statistics lab assistant. Manhattan College awarded a BS in an allied area of operations research. The program included courses in calculus, ordinary differential equations, probability, statistical inference, linear algebra , the more advanced operations research, price analysis and econometrics. Membership in the Delta Mu Delta National Honor Society was granted together with the degree. My experience includes both private account and industry. In addition, I've worked extensively in the Examinations Division of the AICPA from time to time. Recently, I passed the Engineering in Training Exam which consisted of 9 hours of examination in chemistry, physics, calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, probability/ statistics, fluids, electronics, materials science/structure of matter, mechanics, statics, thermodynamics, computer science, dynamics and a host of minor subject areas like engineering economics. A very small percentage of engineers actually take and pass the EIT exam. The number has hovered at circa 5%. Several decades ago, I passed the CPA examination and obtained another license in Computer Information Systems Auditing. A CISA must have knowledge in the areas of data center review, systems applications, the operating system of the computer, disaster recovery, contingency planning, developmental systems, the standards which govern facility reviews and a host of other areas. An MBA in Accounting with an Advanced Professional Certificate in Computer Applications/ Information Systems , an Advanced Professional Certificate in Finance and an Advanced Professional Certificate in Organizational Design were earned at New York University-Graduate School of Business (Stern ). In December of 2005, an earned PhD in Accounting was granted by the Ross College. The program entrance requires a previous Masters Degree for admittance together with a host of other criteria. The REGISTRAR of Ross College contact is: Tel . US 202-318-4454 FAX [records for Dr. Joseph S. Maresca Box 646 Bronxville NY 10708-3602] The clinical experience included the teaching of approximately 34 sections of college accounting, economics, statistics, college algebra, law, thesis project coursework and the professional grading of approx. 50,000 CPA examination essays with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Additionally, membership is held in the Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society chartered in 1994. Significant writings include over 10 copyrights in the name of the author (Joseph S. Maresca) and a patent in the earthquake sciences.
  • Nick

    Fantastic the great wall of china

    • Sam

      The Great Wall of china is fantastic*

  • kayle

    i love this site but needs more infor

  • The Great Wall is a continuing popular site in China-even after centuries have passed since its completion.

  • Anna


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  • Ashton martin


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  • What are U saying #7?