In Chinese histories, the term “Long Wall(s)” (changcheng) appears in Sima Qian’s Records of the Grand Historian, where it referred to both the separate great walls built between and north of the Warring States and to the more unified construction of the First Emperor. The Chinese character is a phono-semantic compound of the “place” or “earth” radical and , whose Old Chinese pronunciation has been reconstructed as *deŋ. It originally referred to the rampart which surrounded traditional Chinese cities and was used by extension for these walls around their respective states; today, however, it is much more often simply the Chinese word for “city”.
The longer Chinese name “Ten-Thousand-Mile Long Wall” ( Wanli Changcheng) came from Sima Qian’s description of it in the Records, though he did not name the walls as such. The 493 CE Book of Song quotes the frontier general Tan Daoji referring to “the long wall of 10,000 miles”, closer to the modern name, but the name rarely features in pre-modern times otherwise. The traditional Chinese mile was an often irregular distance that was intended to show the length of a standard village and varied with terrain but was usually standardized at distances around a third of an English mile (540 m). Since China’s metrication in 1930, it has been exactly equivalent to 500 metres or 1,600 feet,which would make the wall’s name describe a distance of 5,000 km (3,100 mi). However, this use of “ten-thousand” (wàn) is figurative in a similar manner to the Greek and English myriad and simply means “innumerable” or “immeasurable”.
History:Despite its long history, the Great Wall of China as it is exists today was constructed mainly during the mighty Ming dynasty (1368-1644). Like the Mongols, the early Ming rulers had little interest in building border fortifications, and wall building was limited before the late 15th century.
Interesting Facts:1. Contrary to common belief, the Great Wall of China cannot be seen from space with the naked eye. It can be seen with aid.
2. As early as the Qin Dynasty (221-207BC) when building the Great Wall, glutinous rice flour was used in making the binding material to bind the bricks.
3 .The sections of the Great Wall that we mostly associate with The Great Wall of China were built by the Ming Dynasty. This was the last part of the wall that was built and has been made with brick and features many tall watch-towers.
4. The Great Wall of China has been called the longest cemetery on Earth. Over a million people died building the Wall and archaeologists have found human remains buried under parts of the wall.
5. Although the official number of the length of the Great Wall is 8851.8 kilometers (5500 miles), the length of all the Great Wall built over thousands of years is estimated at 21,196.18 kilometers (13,170 miles). The circumference of the Equator is 40,075 kilometers (24,901 miles).
6 . The Great Wall of China is threatened with erosion. The northwestern sections (e.g. in Gansu and Ningxia provinces) of the Great Wall are deteriorating so quickly. It is believed that these sections may disappear within 20 years, due to demolishment by nature and human.
7. Over 10 million people visit the Great Wall of China every year. The most famous section of the Great Wall-Badaling, had been visited by over 300 heads of state and VIPs from around the world, the first of which was Soviet. But it is also the busiest section of wall which is restored. If you are a hiker who like to see the real unspoiled Great Wall which is off the beaten path, we don’t suggest you go there.
8. During the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), many bricks of the Great Wall were taken away to use in building homes, farms or reservoirs. Otherwise many sections of the Great Wall would be preserved much better than what they are like today.
9. The Great Wall is wide enough in some places to drive a car over it.
10 . The most well known of all of the legends of The Great Wall of China is the story of “Men Jiangnu’s Bitter Weeping” whose husband died building the wall. Her weeping was so bitter that a section of the wall collapsed, revealing her husband’s bones so she could bery them.