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22 Interesting facts about the Great Wall of China

22 Interesting facts about the Great Wall of China

Want to know more about the Great Wall of China? Here are 21 Great Wall of China Facts that I bet you didn’t know before reading this!

It is known as one of the greatest accomplishments of humankind, and one of the largest structures on the planet. It’s truly remarkable so let’s check out some of the most interesting facts about the Great Wall of China!

1. You can’t see the Great Wall of China from Space

A common myth that has spread across the globe is the fact that astronauts could see the wall from space with their naked eye. But it’s simply not true, and without a telescope, it is invisible from space. 

It would’ve been one of the coolest Great Wall of China facts, but it’s unfortunately just a popular myth. 

2. It got rebuilt during the Ming Dynasty

Most of today’s wall was rebuilt during the Ming Dynasty, and it’s estimated that the sections from that period of time span across 8,851.8 km (5,500 miles). 

It was also this Dynasty who fortified the walls and re-constructed earlier wooden sections into stone sections, which gave better protection. 

3. The official length is 21,196.18 km (13,170.7 mi)

In fact, the Great Wall of China is the longest man-made structure in the world, and although we can’t see it from space, it would take at least 18 months to cross the wall from one side to the other. 

Facts about the Great wall of China

Photo: Shutterstock

4. Glutinous rice flour was used as a binding material

Much of the wall is built with bricks that have a lime mortar and sticky rice as binding material. Definitely, one of the most fascinating facts about the Great Wall of China since it’s so different from the sand and cement that we use in modern time. 

5. Badaling is the most visited part of the wall

Badaling is one of the most well-preserved sections which has been restored to its previous state. It is also the first section that the Chinese government opened up for tourism.

The Badaling section was built during the Ming Dynasty in the early 1500s. It is also easily accessible from Beijing, which is another reason for its popularity. 

This section of the wall has more than 20,000 visitors every day! That is 5000 more than the Louvre in Paris. 


Photo: Shutterstock

6. The average height of the walls is 6 to 7 meters (20 to 23 feet)

The height of the walls vary between the sections, but on average you will see walls up to 6-7 meters with the highest wall being 8 meters (30 ft). 

7. The wall was breached by Genghis Khan

You might think that a powerful wall like this would stop intruders, and that was also why it was built in the first place. But throughout history, many invaders got past the walls in some sections. 

The most famous warlord might be Genghis Khan who overtook some part of the wall and nearby territories from China. 

Genghis Khan

Photo: Shutterstock

8. The Great Wall of China is about 2,700 years old

The first mentions of construction date back to the 7th century, which makes some parts of the wall at least 2,700 years old. However, most parts that are still preserved comes from the Ming Dynasty, when they decided to rebuild it. 

Early sections of the wall were mostly made of wood, earth, and other simple materials. It wasn’t until later that they started to use stone as a means of fortify the walls. 

9. It’s not just one wall, but rather a collection of walls

The name is “The Great Wall of China” but it’s a misleading name since it’s not just one wall, but rather a collection of walls that have been connected throughout centuries of construction. 

10. 1/3 of the walls have disappeared

Due to erosion and nature itself, many parts of the wall has taken its toll and gotten destroyed. This is still happening in some areas which are unrestored, and erosion is likely to destroy more parts of the wall in the coming years. 

A large part was also destroyed during the cultural revolution where the people took building material from the wall. 

Ruins great wall of china

Photo: Shutterstock

11. More than 1 million workers have been used to build the walls

Building the Great Wall likely required more manpower than building the Pyramids of Giza, and the work has been ongoing for centuries. At least 1 million workers are estimated to have been part of the construction, and many of them died doing so. 

There is a legend about a woman who visited the wall to see her man, but he died from exhaustion before she came and his remains were buried inside the wall. She cried for day and night, until his remains finally became visible. 

12. There are about 7000 lookout towers

This might not be so surprising considering that the wall span across a distance of 21,196.18 km (13,170.7 mi), but nonetheless it’s an impressive number of lookout towers. 

The average distance between two lookout towers is 5000 meters but in some sections, the distance is 2500 meters. 

Lookout tower great wall of china

Photo: Shutterstock

5 x Random facts about the Great Wall of China

  • It is wide enough at some places that you could fit a car
  • There are human remains buried inside it
  • It would take about 18 months to walk from one side to the other
  • The Jiankou section is known as the most dangerous section
  • The Sino-Japanese war was the last war that was fought at the Great Wall of China
The great wall facts

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5 x Great Wall of China facts for kids

  • It was built to protect China from foreign invasions
  • The Great Wall of China is the longest structure ever built by humans
  • The Chinese name of the Great Wall of China is “Changcheng”
  • It spans across 9 Chinese provinces in the North
  • It became a UNESCO world heritage site in 1987 and is considered as one of the new seven wonders of the world
Great wall of China facts for kids

Photo: Shutterstock

General facts about the Great Wall of China

  • Built in: First sections were built in the 7th century B.C
  • Name in local language: Changcheng
  • Name in Simplified Chinese: 长城
  • Total length: 21,196 km (13,171 mi)
  • Highest point: 8 meters (26 ft)
  • Widest section: 9 meters (30 ft)

How many of these Great Wall of China facts did you already know? Leave a comment below!