Gate of the Great Wall of China

Gate of the Great Wall of China


The Great Wall of China

Declared as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007 and listed as a World Heritage by UNESCO in 1987, The Great Wall of China is indeed a magnificent sight to see.

With its overwhelming length, a variety of materials such as stone, brick, rammed earth, and wood, and rich historical values, The Great Wall is more than a tourist attraction to China. Shaped like a huge dragon, the Great Wall has wind up and down through deserts, mountains, grasslands, and plateaus. Its estimated length is 21,196 Km. (13,171 Miles) from east to west of China.

Some sections of the Great Wall are now in relics or have vanished since it was built around 2,700 years ago. Nevertheless, The Great Wall of China continues to be one of the grandest and visited attractions all over the world due to its intricate architecture and historical abundance. (Video Credit: Milosh Kitchovitch)

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From Publishers Weekly

Review

The mystery and magnificence of the Great Wall of China have fascinated historians and artists for centuries. In recent years, photographer Lindesay traveled the entire length of the wall to document its current state in comparison to earlier photographs and drawings. For this elegant, lavishly illustrated book, Lindesay selected 72 of the most striking comparisons, juxtaposing his new photographs with the older images to illustrate the "changes inflicted by man and nature.". Lindesay's album. provides a one-of-a-kind time-lapse view of the wall and a thoughtful lesson about the preservation of historical monuments. (Publishers Weekly (starred review) 2008-07-21)

In 1990, William Lindesay, a British authority on the Great Wall, Beijing, happened upon a copy of The Great Wall of China, a travelogue by William Edgar Geil--very likely the first individual, Chinese included--to traverse the entire Great Wall of China, at the turn of the century. Lindesay thumbed through the book, transfixed by the photographs, particularly one showing Geil near a tower on a remote section of the wall. Lindesay possessed his own photograph of that very site however, by the time he arrived there in 1987, the tower visible in Geil's image had vanished. Beginning in 2004, he set out to locate and re-photograph the sites depicted in Geil's pictures. Lindesay's then-and-now images. document changes to the wall in the last century. (Smithsonian 2008-08-01)

The second-best instrument besides a ticket to see something in person is a good book. Or, in this case, a great book. (Catharine Hamm Los Angeles Times 2008-12-24)

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History of the Great Wall of China

Who built the Great Wall of China? Are the rumors of people being buried in the wall true? Can you see the Great Wall from the moon? There are so many myths and legends surrounding China’s 长城 (pronounced Chángchéng which literally means Long Wall though it is known as Great Wall in the west) that it is often hard to tell fact from fiction. This must-see video from ed.ted.com helps to separate truth from fiction.

Although the Great Wall stretches for over 10,000 miles and can be visited at many different places throughout northern China, most travelers access the wall from Beijing, a city which is itself easily accessible from other parts of China by high-speed rail. In addition to the Great Wall, Beijing has many other ancient sites that are worth a visit, such as the Summer Palace, which is China’s best preserved imperial garden.

Next time you’re traveling through China, don’t forget to check out this amazing marvel of ancient engineering!


Walls

The wall itself was the key part of the defensive system. It usually stood 21.3 feet (6.5 metres) wide at the base and 19 feet (5.8 metres) at the top, with an average height of 23 to 26 feet (7 to 8 metres), or a bit lower on steep hills. The structure of the wall varied from place to place, depending on the availability of building materials. Walls were made of tamped earth sandwiched between wooden boards, adobe bricks, a brick and stone mixture, rocks, or pilings and planks. Some sections made use of existing river dikes others used rugged mountain terrain such as cliffs and gorges to take the place of man-made structures.

In the western deserts the walls were often simple structures of rammed earth and adobe many eastern ramparts, such as those near Badaling, were faced with stone and included a number of secondary structures and devices. On the inner side of such walls, placed at small intervals, were arched doors called juan, which were made of bricks or stones. Inside each juan were stone or brick steps leading to the top of the battlement. On the top, on the side facing outward, stood 7-foot- (2-metre-) high crenels called duokou. On the upper part of the duokou were large openings used to watch and shoot at attackers, and on the lower part were small openings, or loopholes, through which defenders could also shoot. At intervals of about 650 to 1,000 feet (200 to 300 metres) there was a crenellated platform rising slightly above the top of the wall and protruding from the side that faced attackers. During battle the platform provided a commanding view and made it possible to shoot attackers from the side as they attempted to scale the wall with ladders. On several platforms were simply structured huts called pufang, which provided shelter for the guards during storms. Some platforms, as with signal towers, had two or three stories and could be used to store weapons and ammunition. Those at Badaling commonly had two stories, with accommodations for more than 10 soldiers on the lower level. There were also drainage ditches on the walls to shield them from damage by excessive rainwater.


Interesting Myths about the Great Wall of China

Even though people celebrate the Great Wall as a magnificent national heritage, within the walls lie mixed tales of pain, anguish, bloodshed, triumph and regret. These tales, are in the form of myths and legends explaining how some of the prominent features of the wall came to be. Some are familiar stories, while others assert the contribution of a supernatural hand in the construction of the Great Wall of China. Though these legends are numerous, all serve to keep the Chinese Culture and history alive. The following are a few of the interesting myths about the Great Wall of China.

Myth of the Meng Jiangnu

The legend holds that during the Qin Dynasty, the federal officials arrested a peasant by the name of Fan Qiliang, the husband of Meng Jiangnu, and forcefully sent him to build the wall. After many days of unsuccessfully trying to locate her husband, Meng Jiangnu finally reached the Great Wall. Unfortunately, by the time she got to where her husband worked, she discovered that he was no more. The demise of Fan Qiliang distressed her greatly, and she wept bitterly. Her wailing was so loud that it caused some parts of the great Wall to collapse.

The Jiayuguan Pass

The tale is about a proficient arithmetician during the Ming Dynasty, called Yi Kaizhan. Yi Kaizhan was so gifted that he projected it would require 99,999 bricks to construct the Jiayuguan Pass. The supervisor at that time, perhaps driven by envy of the mathematician’s talent, did not only doubt him but threatened to punish all the workers with three years of hard labor in case Yi Kaizhan’s calculation was wrong even if by one brick. Surprisingly, to the delight of the supervisor, one stone remained behind the Xiwong City Gate after the completion of the project. Just as the supervisor was about to make good his threat, Yi Kaizhan proclaimed that a supernatural being placed the brick there to prevent the wall from collapsing. To date, the brick is still on the Jiayuguan Pass tower.

Metal Soup Great Wall

This myth is about the construction of the Huanghuacheng Great Wall located sixty kilometers north of downtown Beijing. During the Ming Dynasty, the emperor ordered General Cai Kai to oversee the building of the Wall. The wall took many years to finish, and immediately after completion, General Cai Kai, went to the capital to update the emperor of the accomplishment. Ironically, Emperor Wanli instantly put him to death. Apparently, the emperor’s ministers had misled the emperor into believing the general had wasted money and done a shoddy work. Later on, however, the Emperor discovered he was lied to as the Huanghuaheng Great Wall was not only solid but the best workmanship his eyes had ever seen. Remorsefully, he ordered the building of a tomb and memorial in honor of the General. The Emperor also wrote the words “Jin Tang”(Metal Soup) on a huge rock below the wall, to indicate the wall was solid and firm.

The Happy Meeting Fortress

There is an interesting tale of how the Happy Meeting or the Xifeng Kou Fortress came to be. During the wall construction times, soldiers had to stay on guard throughout the year without leaving their duty. Being distant from family members obviously was distressing. A father whose son, the only surviving family member, was guarding the wall couldn’t stand being apart from his son. So he set on a journey to locate his son who was defending the Northern Territory of the wall. He managed to find his child, and they embraced happily. In their mixed emotion of laughter, joy, grief, and relief, they both collapsed and died on the spot. Those who witnessed the ordeal were not only shocked but surprised. In memory of the loving father and his son, they named fortress where the two met Xifeng Kou, and their burial place, the Xifeng Kou Pass.

The Ten Brothers

This myth holds that there were ten brothers each gifted differently. The eldest could hear voices from long distances while the second one could see an object from as far as 500km away. The third son was as strong as a bull, and the fourth had a head as hard as steel. The fifth brother’s body was steel-hard, and the sixth had very long legs. The seventh had a gigantic head, while the eighth had incredibly large feet. The ninth and the youngest brothers had a large mouth and enormous eyes respectively.

Now, one day as the brothers were working on their farm, the eldest brother heard cries. Upon looking, the second brother observed the calls for help were coming from hunger-stricken Great Wall Builders. Angry about the situation, the third brother went to help the workers, but the officials chopped off his head. Annoyed, the fifth brother dashed to aid his brother, but the officials decided to drown him in the sea. Fortunately for him, the sixth brother had long legs and was able to save him from drowning. In the process, the sixth brother caught about 30kg of fish, which the seventh brother scooped with his big hat. The ninth brother swallowed all the fish in one bite causing the youngest brother to cry. Since he had big eyes, his tears resulted in the flooding and ruining of some sections of the Great Wall. It explains why sections of the Huanghuacheng Great Wall is partially under water.

Whether these myths are just stories or they took place for real is hard to tell. But they make visiting the Great Wall a magical experience.


How was the Great Wall Of China defended?

Because of the size of the wall, I'm not sure how the entire thing could be properly manned and supplied, and were the soldiers would live and sleep if it was more heavily guarded and what they would do if invading forces tried to get past the wall.

The Great Wall is there to deter any would-be raiders from the northern steppes and to prevent them from just waltzing into Chinese territory. Defense of the wall is therefore concentrated in several key spots: major army garrisons along or close to the wall, gate garrison towns, and gate forts. Aside from being just a simple physical obstacle to any potential invader, beacon towers along the length of the wall also use smoke signals and signal fires to send word (along with messengers) to major garrisons to mobilize to whatever part of the Wall was being attacked. The idea is not to garrison the entire wall, which would require a garrison force beyond reckoning, but instead to have several rapid-response garrison armies that can deploy to any section of the wall close to them if need be.

In addition, the various Chinese dynasties throughout history weren't exclusively defensive and exclusively focused on the Great Wall. The best method is to simply launch major invasions of the northern steppes to subjugate whichever major nomadic force was in power at the time. This was the case for dynasties such as the Qin, Han, Tang, and the Ming (early period at least afterwards, Ming forces ceased to actively campaign against the Mongols due to budgetary concerns, retreated behind the Great Wall, and relied on it for defense), to name a few.

The best method is to simply launch major invasions of the northern steppes to subjugate whichever major nomadic force was in power at the time.

The effectiveness of the punitive expeditions were mixed or short-term at best. For one, the infantry-based armies of most Chinese dynasties were ill-suited for extended fighting against the mounted nomads who had no permanent settlements or bases. As you mentioned, the Ming ceased offensive operations against the nomadic tribes simply because they couldn't handle the logistic nightmare of supplying the long chain of remote forward operating bases and depots just to get their armies INTO nomadic territory. And when they did encounter their opponents, the nomads would simply escaped into the barren steppes when things got too hot for them, meaning in practice the Chinese could never really destroy them completely. Best cases, they kill off the head hochos leading and organizing these raids, but new ones will just pop up to replace them, and the cycle repeats.

A better method of dealing with the nomads was to bribe them into staying out of Chinese territories, or better yet, paying them to fight each other. During the Ming dynasty provisions were made for horse trade markets, where the Chinese will trade commodities and luxuries to the nomads for horses - basically goods they would had raided for in the first place. Regular deliveries of gifts to steppe tribe leaders were also a thing.

These economic solutions significantly curbed the number of attacks from the steppe nomads, and also provided the Ming military with a good supply of cavalry mounts. Of course, there were many incidents of policy-makers thinking this went against the concept of Chinese superiority, so they dropped these provisions and policies for more military solutions like the punitive campaigns.


THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA: TANGIBLE, INTANGIBLE AND DESTRUCTIBLE

An exhibition of old photographs of the Great Wall, many from the 1960s, that opened in Beijing in February 2005 highlights the ongoing threats faced by China's internationally best known ancient "monument". The photographs were collected by English enthusiast William Lindesay, who since 1987 has reportedly "walked 2,400 km along the Great Wall". His travels are documented in two publications – Alone on the Great Wall (Fulcrum Publishing, 1991) and The Great Wall (NY: OUP, 2003), but he is best known to Beijing's ex-pat public for cleanups of tourist-generated trash along sections of the Wall organised by the group he founded - International Friends of the Great Wall.


Fig. 1 The Great Wall at Badaling Pass, Beijing

The Great Wall has come to symbolise China itself. Responding to reports on threats to the preservation of the Wall, Deng Xiaoping underscored this identity of nation and wall when in 1984 he penned the exhortation: "Let us love our country and restore our Great Wall". Given this symbolic conjunction of wall and nation, it is not surprising that one of the key jaunts for participants at Fortune Global Forum 2005, to be held in Beijing in May, will be "a walk on the wild side of the Great Wall" with William Lindesay and canapés at Commune by the Wall, an architecturally innovative resort located at the Shuiguan section of the Wall. Lauded and applauded the Wall might be, but it is tourism – with developers exploiting previously inaccessible areas – as well as inappropriate restoration and development that now loom as major threats to this set of ancient structures.

The popularly held view of the Great Wall is that this long rampart was constructed by an army of slaves working for the engineers of Emperor Qin Shihuang (259-210 BCE) who incorporated the smaller defensive walls of earlier states into a single structure that snaked across north China demarcating a boundary between agrarian and nomadic cultures that endured over millennia until rebuilt and strengthened in the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). Although there are elements of truth in the various parts of this popular definition of the Great Wall, the history of China's walled defences is more complex. As Arthur Waldron pointed out in The Great Wall: From History to Myth (Cambridge University Press, 1990), the walls constructed under the Qin were far from being the impressive Ming structures that we see today near Badaling in Beijing moreover, the pre-Ming walls were not thought of as a Great Wall. In fact, there was no term for a single Great Wall in the ancient Chinese language. The modern Chinese term for the Great Wall - Wanli Changcheng, "Ten Thousand Li Long Wall", does occur in ancient texts but not as an unchanging term for a specific construction its widespread use is modern, and its neat numerical formulation has provided a rough measure of the length of the monument that has come to serve as a sustaining national myth. The elusive nature of the Great Wall is no better demonstrated than by the fact that while the Chinese media often state that the Great Wall is a UNESCO-listed World Heritage site, UNESCO in 1987 in fact listed several sites separately – Badaling (the section of the wall in Beijing best known to tourists, see Fig. 1), Shanhaiguan (the eastern "end" of the Ming wall near Qinhuangdao adjoining the coast in Hebei province, see Fig. 2) and Jiayuguan (the complex at the western end of the Ming wall in remote Gansu province, see Fig. 3). In November 2002 a section of the Ming Great Wall at Jiumenkou built on a riverbed in north-eastern China's Liaoning province was also listed by UNESCO. The 1,704-meter Jiumenkou wall section located in Xintaizi village, Suizhong county, crosses a 100-meter wide river, where the wall takes on the characteristics of a stone bridge comprising a battery of eight piers and nine sluice gates. Built in 1381, the Jiumenkou section has undergone several major repairs and renovations. The Great Wall section at Jiumenkou became the 27th site in China to be listed by UNESCO.

Arthur Waldron certainly does not deny that the various walls which form parts of the Great Wall story testify to remarkable building programs undertaken by ancient Chinese ruling dynasties he merely points out that the story has many breaks and gaps, and that the notion of a constant Great Wall is mythic, Chinese and non-Chinese alike being complicit in the generation of historiographies built around this construction. Although walls rarely form a part of traditional Chinese ritual concerns, they play a key role in Chinese discourses of power and provide an aesthetic for defining urban spaces and housing that resonates through Chinese architectural history.


If the Great Wall itself has a "mythic" quality, the reasons why many Chinese dynasties built walls are still debated. Walls served defensive purposes, denoted land ownership, demarcated boundaries and were used as communication lines for relaying messages. China's leading Great Wall scholar is Luo Zhewen, president of the China Society of Cultural Heritage and a specialist on ancient Chinese architecture. As the most active Great Wall conservator in the 1980s and early 1990s, Luo has characterised the wall as "a great wall of peace", stressing the defensive nature of the walled structures. This view received welcome support by archaeologists from Liaoning province who, in July 2004, reported the discovery of what they dubbed a "feminist Great Wall", specifically a section of wall constructed by soldiers under General Qi Jiguang. The soldiers' wives decorated parts of the wall with images of clouds, lotus blossoms and "fluffy balls" (xiuqiu), "symbols of peace and love". This interpretation of graffiti from a hardship post is fanciful, but another recent find is an explicit call for an undisturbed status quo: the discovery in 2002 of a Ming dynasty stone stele at the Bachakou wall crossing near Shuozhou in Shaanxi has led to the wall being seen as an ancient monument to "ecological protection". This stone tablet dated 1589 bears the 700-character text of an edict of Emperor Jiajing that banned tree-felling and called for efforts to restore pastures or return farmland to woodland. The text warned that those who violated the decree would be dealt with harshly and exiled to remote regions. However, it should be pointed out that these green concerns were designed to serve a military purpose, and the decree also referred to building a mountain pass to reinforce defences.

Many have argued that the walls served less a defensive purpose than functioned as a bureaucratic and economic organisational focus, rather like the ongoing NASA program that continues to attract massive funding despite the lack of clarity about its original military purpose. A scholar who argued that the "Great Wall" of the state of Qi, in today's Shandong, was originally constructed to thwart salt smuggling from the north (see: Guo Hongguang, "Further discussion on why the construction of the Qi Great Wall was initiated" [Qi Changcheng zhaojian yuanyin zaitan], Historical Research [Lishi yanjiu], 2000:1), was taken to task by Zhang Huasong, a scholar writing in the 30 April 2004 issue of China Cultural Relics News, who cogently drew on textual and topographic evidence to assert that the Qi walls were built to confront military threats from the south.


Fig. 3 Jiayuguan Pass, Great Wall, Gansu Province

Great Wall studies (Changchengxue) is a relatively new branch of Chinese scholarship that examines the history of China's various walls, and it is a field that attracts professional archaeologists and amateur enthusiasts. The China Great Wall Society is the leading organisation championing the restoration of the Great Wall, and it has established an Academy of the Great Wall to give greater credence to its work. The society is made up of amateur and professional conservationists, architects and archaeologists dedicated to mapping, documenting and conserving China's heritage of defensive walls and their heritage, and it functions like a lobby group. In 2001 the society sent the China Great Wall Investigation Team on a 9,000 km journey to document the current condition of the complex of walls that have come to be termed collectively the Great Wall. The society's work highlighted the failure of the State Cultural Relics Bureau to map and document the locations of China's wall complexes which is the necessary first step for implementing any national protection plan. Any plan must look at each section of wall in the context of its local environment and economy. Residents in many areas are often unaware that they live adjacent to the Great Wall, and the myth of the Great Wall reinforced by images from Badaling and other impressive examples of Ming architecture has played its part in perpetuating this ignorance.

Like Arthur Waldron and Luo Zhewen, most serious Chinese Great Wall scholars know only too well that the notion of a single, unchanging Great Wall of China is erroneous. Jing Ai, an archaeologist from the Chinese Academy of Cultural Relics, has also lashed out at the ongoing conflation of the Great Wall myth by scholars who serve the interests of tourism by fancifully adding to the length and antiquity of the Great Wall. In the 30 January 2004 issue of China Cultural Relics News he attacked an unnamed scholar who attributed the construction of China's first unitary defensive Great Wall to King Zhuang (r. 613-591 BCE) of the southern kingdom of Chu, a powerful ruler more than four centuries earlier than Qin Shihuang, by pointing out that it would have been illogical for the expanding state of Chu to construct a defensive wall that would have impeded its own northern expansion. The scholar Jing Ai does not mention in his article in China Cultural Relics News is Xiao Luoyang, director of the Institute of Archaeology of Henan Province, whose assertions were not simply textually based. Xiao was discussing the archaeological discovery in 2002 of a stone and brick wall, without mortar, that had been discovered running for 800 km across Lushan, Yexian, Fangcheng and Nanzhao counties in south-western Henan. Many reacted with enthusiasm to Xiao Luoyang's interpretation of these recent finds Dong Yaohui, president of the China Great Wall Society, described the Chu wall as "the father of the Great Wall".

Another scholar dismissed by Jing Ai has argued that "the first Great Wall" was constructed by the legendary rulers Gun and Yu in pre-Xia dynasty times, and that this Great Wall was a part of their massive hydraulic engineering projects. The latter founding story is nonsensical, but symptomatic of a trend in which local authorities and amateur scholars capitalise on the legendary associations of particular locales across China that will appeal to potential tourists, especially ethnic Chinese, from around the world. Monuments and museums are springing up across China to provide the material trappings for these new cults of ancestry and association.

Jing Ai has decried the inclusion of every rampart, bulwark, willow palisade, stockade, fortress, trench, pit and moat that constitute the limes of ancient dynasties as part of the Great Wall, but many of his arguments were questioned in the 26 March 2004 issue of China Cultural Relics News by Feng Yongqian of the Liaoning Provincial Cultural Relics and Archaeology Institute who stated, for example, that the word "Changcheng" (Great Wall) does not have to appear in the historical records of the Jin dynasty for that dynasty's "demarcation trenches" (jiehao) not to be considered part of the Wall. Feng made much of factual errors in Jing Ai's original article.

However, the recent archaeological discoveries of new stretches of wall in remote parts of China tangibly fuel the Great Wall industry and enhance the mythology. As recently as 1998 archaeologists working in Xinjiang found a wall that ran from Yumen Pass in Gansu to the northern edge of Lop Nur, skirting one of the trajectories of the Silk Road. These earthen ramparts were made of rammed yellow sandy soil and jarrah branches, but according to the late Luo Zhewen there is no doubt that this is part of the Great Wall, as it comprises a complete defensive network. This discovery extended the length of the Great Wall by 500 km, to bring the wall to a length of 7,200 km. Even fortresses and sections of the Ming Great Wall have only come to light in Ningxia in recent years after desert sands have shifted.

An exhibition in February 2005 in the newly renovated museum at the Shanhaiguan Wall curated by the China Great Wall Society and the Shanhaiguan Cultural Relics Management Office highlights the paucity of epigraphic material documenting the history of the wall's construction and the neglect until recently of the few extant "inscribed bricks". The exhibition brought together all sixteen "inscribed bricks" discovered to date at sections of the wall in Beijing and Hebei. The inscriptions on these bricks, which measure 40 cm x 20 cm x 10 cm, provide valuable information regarding the construction of the Ming section of the wall, but several record details of construction during the Northern Qi dynasty (550-577), the latter being the earliest "epigraphic records of the Great Wall" according to Dong Yaohui, deputy president of China Great Wall Society.

According to Hao Sanjin, another active member of The China Great Wall Society, his group has documented all bricks with inscriptions recovered on the Great Wall sections in Hebei and Beijing since the 1980s, when it was first noticed that characters had peeled off dilapidated bricks on the Great Wall section at Shanhaiguan Pass, the last section of the Ming wall to be built. The inscriptions on the Ming bricks are better preserved indoors, because over the past two decades they have faded because of wind and rain erosion and deterioration of the environment. Until recently, the authorities managing tourism at the Shanhaiguan section have neglected the genuine historical relics to be found here, focusing their energies on staging money-making festivals and fairs. It is time that some of the lucrative gate takings at Shanhaiguan were used for conservation purposes, because the lantern festivals and other events have exacted their toll on the wall.

Over the last two years a number of renovation projects along the Great Wall have attempted to undo some of the damage the wall continues to sustain. In late 2003 a survey team was stunned to find that real estate developers had opened a 14-meter-long breach at the undeveloped Hongyukou section of the Ming dynasty Great Wall in Hebei province not far from the site of the Qing dynasty Eastern Tombs at Dongling, and had also faced and repaired two sections of the original ramparts with cement. The development was part of the planned Hongyu Villa project of Qian'an City and Qinglong Manchu Autonomous County. Conservationists also discovered that ancient bricks removed from the Great Wall rampart had been discarded, while the inscriptions and stone cannons formerly preserved in the wall, had disappeared. The ugly landscaping and unsightly car-parks built by the developers, but not mentioned in Chinese media reports, created a devastating overall effect. Fined RMB 100,000 yuan (USD 12,000) for the damage to the Great Wall, the investor Zhou Wen argued that he was repairing the Wall and protecting it from further deterioration, but Hao Sanjin and Dong Yaohui of the Great Wall Society of China pointed out that Zhou's improper repairs at one of the best preserved sections of the Ming wall constitute a form of destruction. An investigation showed that the project was unauthorised by any cultural relic departments, and the work unit was not qualified to undertake any construction on ancient buildings. Ironically, a cultural relics protection centre had been established in Qinglong county in 1982 to protect the 184-km Great Wall in the region. With 2,000 yuan of operating funds each year, the three staff of the centre claim that they could not afford to do any real work, but clearly they were complicit in the destruction wrought by the Hongyu Villa project. In accordance with the relevant regulations on cultural relics protection and their own job descriptions, any work that might impinge on the Great Wall should have been reported to the State Bureau of Cultural Relics for approval.

In early 2004 a conservation report on the Great Wall shows that "only one third of the 6,350 kilometres of wall" now exists and the length is still shortening. The lack of awareness of conservation is a serious threat, says Dong Yaohui. Many farmers living by the wall are oblivious to declarations that that the Great Wall is under state protection. Bricks from the wall provide the materials for building courtyard walls and animal pens. In the 1980s, cultural heritage departments provided subsidies to some farmers along the Great Wall to help with the protection of cultural relics and disseminated information on protection among farmers, but the subsidies were later discontinued due to lack of funds. Lack of money for protection organisations has also tied conservationists' hands.

Maintenance and repair of the Great Wall are overwhelming tasks, and so Beijing Municipal Cultural Relics Bureau chose the Simatai section of the Great Wall as a priority restoration project for 2004. The Simatai Great Wall lies on steep mountain slopes in Miyun county, on the northern border of greater Beijing. Simatai has more beacon towers than other sections of the Great Wall. Using traditional materials and technologies, workers repaired and consolidated partially collapsed gates, battlements and wall sections. In addition, lightning conductors were attached to recently fitted iron and steel support struts and railings.

Outside Beijing the wall faces greater threats and funds are much more limited. In 2004 it was reported that in Shaanxi Province, its 2,000 km of ancient walls are all under threat. One-third of the 850 km-long structure built in the Ming dynasty has disappeared, often as a result of infrastructural and energy projects, with up to 40 openings in the Shaanxi section of the Great Wall breached by roads. A joint notice has been issued by Shaanxi provincial cultural heritage bureau, the public security department, the land and resources department, the construction department, the environmental protection department and the tourism bureau to strengthen protection and administration of the Great Wall in Shaanxi, to prohibit excessive and destructive exploitation, and to prosecute individuals or units harming the Great Wall.

A similar situation prevails in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, which boasts over 1,500 km of walls of various architectural forms from the Warring States, Qin, Han, Sui and Ming dynasties. The section of wall in Linhe built in the Ming dynasty was demolished in two places to allow roads to pass through. Although the openings were later mended, a change in public awareness is clearly required. In Ningxia's Zhongwei city, parts of the "Great Wall" built during the reign of the Qin Shihuang have disappeared as a result of accumulative erosion and human agency. The base of the Ming dynasty wall in Shizuishan city, running along the Helanshan Mountains in Ningxia, has also collapsed. Ningxia's walls are distributed over a vast area mainly composed of desert and mountains, and are fairly inaccessible to cultural relics management personnel. Local governments in these areas are very poor and lack professional protection technology.

The media clamour for conservation of the Great Wall escalated towards mid-2004 as China prepared to host the 28th Congress of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee in Suzhou, where delegates would hear reports on the efforts of the host nation to protect its listed sites. Listings can be withdrawn if conservation measures have not been adopted or implemented. As early as in 1961, the State Council had promulgated a regulation on cultural relics protection, requiring protection zones for the Great Wall to be demarcated, and designating organisations to take charge of Great Wall protection and to build up records and files for the Great Wall, but Dong Yaohui, president of the China Great Wall Society, points out that there are still no protection zones for most segments of the Great Wall, and he appealed to the central government to make a thorough survey of the entire Great Wall and prepare detailed records as reference for future wall restoration. He also suggested the government enact specific regulations on Great Wall protection, which stipulate punishment measures for wall destruction and clearly define the rights and duties of the Great Wall protection organisations. [BGD]


Great Wall

Introdution of The Great Wall
The Great Wall spans more than two thousand years and traverses 5,000 kilometers. The Great Wall, like the Pyramids of Egypt, the Taj Mahal in India and the Hanging Garden of Babylon, is one of the great wonders of the world.

Starting out in the east on the banks of the Yalu River in Liaoning Province, the Wall stretches westwards for 12,700 kilometers to Jiayuguan in the Gobi desert, thus known as the Ten Thousand Li Wall in China. As a cultural heritage, the Wall belongs not only to China but to the world. The Venice charter says: "Historical and cultural architecture not only includes the individual architectural works, but also the urban or rural environment that witnessed certain civilizations, significant social developments or historical events." The Great Wall is the largest of such historical and cultural architecture, and that is why it continues to be so attractive to people all over the world. In 1987, the Wall was listed by UNESCO as a world cultural heritage site.

History
During the time known as The Warring States Period (476-221 BCE), the different regions of China fought for control of the country during the collapse of the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (771-226 BCE). One state emerged victorious from this struggle: the state of Qin which is pronounced 'chin' and gives China its name. The general who led Qin to victory was Prince Ying Zheng who took the name `Qin Shi Huangti' (First Emperor) after conquering the other states.

Shi Huangti ordered construction of the Great Wall to consolidate his empire. The seven warring states each had walls along their border for defense, which Shi Huangti destroyed after he took power. As a sign that all of China was now one, the emperor decreed a great wall would be built along the northern border to defend against the mounted warriors of the nomadic Xiongnu of Mongolia there would be no more walls marking boundaries between separate states in China because there would no longer be any separate states. His wall ran along a line further to the north than the present one, marking what was then the border between China and the Mongolian plains. The wall was constructed by unwilling conscripts and convicts who were sent north under guard from all over China for the purpose. Shi Huangti was not a benevolent ruler and was more interested in his own grandeur than the good of his people. His wall was not regarded by the Chinese people under the Qin Dynasty as a symbol of national pride or unity but as a place where people were sent to labor for the emperor until they died.

The present wall, whose image is so well known, is not Shi Huangti's wall from c. 221 BCE. There is actually very little of the original wall left today. When the Qin Dynasty fell in 206 BCE, the country split into the civil war known as the Chou-Han Contention, fought between the generals Xiang-Yu of Chou and Liu-Bang of Han, the two leaders who had emerged as the most powerful of those who had helped topple the Qin Dynasty. When Liu-Bang defeated Xiang-Yu in 202 BCE at the Battle of Gaixia, he became the First Emperor of the Han Dynasty and continued construction of the wall as a means of defense. He was also the first emperor to use the wall as a means of regulating trade along the Silk Routes (better known as The Silk Road) from Europe to China.

Design Of The Fortifications
The Great Wall had three major components: passes, signal towers (beacons), and walls.

Passes
Passes were major strongholds along the wall, usually located at such key positions as intersections with trade routes. The ramparts of many passes were faced with huge bricks and stones, with dirt and crushed stones as filler. The bastions measured some 30 feet (10 metres) high and 13 to 16 feet (4 to 5 metres) wide at the top. Within each pass were access ramps for horses and ladders for soldiers. The outside parapet was crenellated, and the inside parapet, or yuqiang (nüqiang), was a low wall about 3 feet (1 metre) high that prevented people and horses from falling off the top. In addition to serving as an access point for merchants and other civilians, the gate within the pass was used as an exit for the garrison to counterattack raiders or to send out patrols. Under the gate arch there was typically a huge double door of wood. Bolts and locker rings were set in the inner panel of each door. On top of each gate was a gate tower that served as a watchtower and command post. Usually it stood one to three stories (levels) high and was constructed either of wood or of bricks and wood. Built outside the gate, where an enemy was most likely to attack, was a wengcheng, a semicircular or polygonal parapet that shielded the gate from direct assault. Extending beyond the most strategic wengchengs was an additional line of protection, the luocheng, which was often topped by a tower used to watch those beyond the wall and to direct troop movements in battles waged there. Around the gate entrance there was often a moat that was formed in the process of digging earth to build the fortifications.

Signal towers
Signal towers were also called beacons, beacon terraces, smoke mounds, mounds, or kiosks. They were used to send military communications: beacon (fires or lanterns) during the night or smoke signals in the daytime other methods such as raising banners, beating clappers, or firing guns were also used. Signal towers, often built on hilltops for maximum visibility, were self-contained high platforms or towers. The lower levels contained rooms for soldiers, as well as stables, sheepfolds, and storage areas.

Walls
The wall itself was the key part of the defensive system. It usually stood 21.3 feet (6.5 metres) wide at the base and 19 feet (5.8 metres) at the top, with an average height of 23 to 26 feet (7 to 8 metres), or a bit lower on steep hills. The structure of the wall varied from place to place, depending on the availability of building materials. Walls were made of tamped earth sandwiched between wooden boards, adobe bricks, a brick and stone mixture, rocks, or pilings and planks. Some sections made use of existing river dikes others used rugged mountain terrain such as cliffs and gorges to take the place of man-made structures.

In the western deserts the walls were often simple structures of rammed earth and adobe many eastern ramparts, such as those near Badaling, were faced with stone and included a number of secondary structures and devices. On the inner side of such walls, placed at small intervals, were arched doors called juan, which were made of bricks or stones. Inside each juan were stone or brick steps leading to the top of the battlement. On the top, on the side facing outward, stood 7-foot- (2-metre-) high crenels called duokou. On the upper part of the duokou were large openings used to watch and shoot at attackers, and on the lower part were small openings, or loopholes, through which defenders could also shoot. At intervals of about 650 to 1,000 feet (200 to 300 metres) there was a crenellated platform rising slightly above the top of the wall and protruding from the side that faced attackers. During battle the platform provided a commanding view and made it possible to shoot attackers from the side as they attempted to scale the wall with ladders. On several platforms were simply structured huts called pufang, which provided shelter for the guards during storms. Some platforms, as with signal towers, had two or three stories and could be used to store weapons and ammunition. Those at Badaling commonly had two stories, with accommodations for more than 10 soldiers on the lower level. There were also drainage ditches on the walls to shield them from damage by excessive rainwater.

Tradition And Conservation
The Great Wall has long been incorporated into Chinese mythology and popular symbolism, and in the 20th century it came to be regarded as a national symbol. Above the East Gate (Dongmen) at Shanhai Pass is an inscription attributed to the medieval historian Xiao Xian, which is translated as “First Pass Under Heaven,” referring to the traditional division between Chinese civilization and the barbarian lands to the north.


Notes

Text cut off in gutter.
Page 197,198 are physically missing.
Original book is like this.

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