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China’s Unique Treasure, the World’s Great Wonder
Impregnable Pass, History of the Great Wall
Shining Spears and Armored Horses, Beacon Fire and Gunpowder Smoke
Scenery and Human Culture of Shanhaiguan
 “Love China, Rebuild the Great Wall”
{Section I} China’s Unique Treasure, the World’s Great Wonder

As an ancient and complex military defense system, Great Wall is a true wonder of the world: it has the longest construction time-span and the largest physical scale in human history. The first defensive walls in China were constructed during the Spring and Autumn Period, and they were circular, and not too long, to defend settlements. Then, during the Warring States period, the first linear, and long, defensive walls appeared. This military strategy was favored after centralization under the Qin in 221 B.C., which developed an elaborate border-defense system. Many of the great dynasties that followed over the centuries also built Great Wall. In fact, building concluded as late as at the end of China’s last imperial dynasty, the Qing Dynasty. Construction therefore was ongoing for more than 2,000 years, and the resultant border defence works left on the landscape of China measured a total length of more than 50,000 kilometres. Of all Great Wall, defenses built during the Qin, Han and Ming dynasties were the largest in scale and highest in quality, and most deserving of the term “Great Wall”.

Prologue Lobby
(Unit 1) The Great Wall of the Spring and Autumn Period

Before the land of China was unified under the rule of kings or emperors, leaders of clan and tribes organized their communities to work together to excavate trenches and walls around their villages. Later, during the Shang and Zhou dynasties, such enclosing walls had become more elaborate with turrets, marking the appearance of the castle and fortified town. In the Spring and Autumn Period, feudal princes contended among one another for wider geographical territorial power, and at this time some constructions connected fortified towns with beacon towers with long, linear walls. Particular attention was paid to main communication routes and hostile border regions, where walls were built higher, and they were garrisoned with troops. Historical records note that the first Great Wall was the “Walled Square of Chu”. Soon after this debut of the “long wall”, other feudal states built their own long walls, among them the states of Qi,  Qin, Yan, Zhao, Wei and Zhongshan. Eventually, the state of Qin conquered all of its neighbors, and the Qin Empire was established

Great Wall ruins of the Qin State at Lintao, Gansu Province

(Unit 2) The Great Wall of the Qin Dynasty

On founding the Qin Dynasty in 221 B.C., Qin Shi Huang – the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty – launched a series of significant political, economic, military and cultural reforms aimed at consolidating his empire. To safeguard farming and the stability of life on the Central Plains, Qin Shi Huang assigned Meng Tian, his senior general, to lead 300,000 soldiers to push the Huns northward.  Existing long walls in the north of the new empire, specifically segments of the Qin,, Zhao and Yan Great Walls, were connected with new sections of Wall, forming the first “Great Wall of 10,000 Li” in Chinese history. This structure began its course at Lintao, in today’s Gansu Province, and terminated near the Yalu River, near today’s border between China and Korea. It may have measured as long as 6,000 kilometres.
Great Wall ruins of the Qin State at Guyuan, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region
(Unit 3) The Great Wall of the Han Dynasty

National strength in the early decades of the Western Han Dynasty was weak and a policy called “He Qin” had to be implemented toward the northern nomads. This saw some feudal dynasties attempting to cement relations with rulers of minority nationalities in the border areas by marrying daughters of the Han imperial family to them. After Han Wu Di’s succession to the imperial throne, national power increased and the economy prospered. Nomads were pushed north, trade relations were forged with the Western Regions, and the foundations for the “Silk Road” connecting east and west were laid. In 134 A. D. the Great Wall was reconstructed. It was based on the inherited Great Wall of the Qin Dynasty, and it starting from near the Yalu River in the east, passing across semi desert in the north and finally reaching Lop Nur, in today’s Xinjiang in the west. These defences may have measured as much as 10,000 kilometres. The Great Wall of the Han Dynasty safeguarded national stability and ensured a peaceful climate, allowing trade and cultural relations to develop between China and the West.
Great Wall ruins of the Han Dynasty at Yumen (Jade Gate) Pass, Gansu
(Unit 4) The Great Wall of the Northern, Sui, Liao and Jin Dynasties

The Great Wall is a treasure created not only by the Han nationality. Rulers of the Northern Dynasties, the Liao and Jin dynasties, which were all of non-Han origin, also adopted the strategy of building border defences i.e. Great Walls. Great Wall was respectively constructed in by the Northern Wei, Northern Zhou, Northern Qi, Liao Dynasty and Jin Dynasty, all of which are the dynasties established by minority peoples. Therefore Great Wall is the outcome of sweat, toil and wisdom of people from different nationalities, making it a backbone of the Chinese nation.
Ruins of Yashuihe walls built during the Northern Dynasties at Funing, Hebei
 (Unit 5) The Great Wall of the Ming Dynasty

The construction of Great Wall almost never stopped during 276 years in the Ming Dynasty. Great Wall construction during this period reached an unprecedented level in terms of scope, technology, materials or the perfection of functions and facilities. The Great Wall of the Ming is magnificent and splendid, variable in appearance in different locations, and evolved to be approximately 6,300 kilometres in length. This Ming contribution to the Great Wall alone is regarded by many as the greatest ancient construction work extant in the world today.

Great Wall at Banchangyu, Funing, Hebei
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