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Great Wall

Great Wall

Great Wall of China, stretching from Jiayuguan Pass of Gansu Province in the west to Shanhaiguan Pass of Hebei Province in the east, is the symbol of Chinese nation and culture. The Wall climbs up and down, twists and turns along the ridges of the Yanshan and Yinshan Mountain Chains through five provinces - Liaoning, Hebei, Shanxi, Shaanxi, and Gansu and two autonomous regions - Ningxia and Inner Mongolia, binding the northern China together. The Great Wall is a giant military engineering constructed in different periods, the aim of which is to defend the invasion of horde alliance from the North.

Great Wall is divided into two sections, the east and west, with Shanxi Province as the dividing line. The west part is a rammed earth construction, about 5.3 meters high on average. In the eastern part, the core of the Wall is rammed earth as well, but the outer shell is reinforced with bricks and rocks. The most imposing and best preserved sections of the Great Wall are at Badaling and Mutianyu, not far from Beijing and both are open to visitors.

The Wall of those sections is 7.8 meters high and 6.5 meters wide at its base, narrowing to 5.8 meters on the ramparts, wide enough for five horses to gallop abreast. There are ramparts, embrasures, peep-holes and apertures for archers on the top, besides gutters with gargoyles to drain rain-water off the parapet walk. Two-storied watch-towers are built at approximately 400-meters internals. The top stories of the watch-tower were designed for observing enemy movements, while the first was used for storing grain, fodder, military equipment and gunpowder as well as for quartering garrison soldiers.

A signal system formerly existed served to communicate military information to the dynastic capital. It consisted of beacon towers on the Wall itself and on mountain tops within sight of the Wall. At the approach of enemy troops, smoke signals gave the alarm from the beacon towers in the daytime and bonfire did this at night. Emergency signals could be relayed to the capital from distant places within a few hours long before the invention of anything like modern communications.

As a cultural heritage, the Wall belongs not only to China but to the world. Great Wall is the largest of such historical and cultural architectures, and that is why it remains to be so attractive to people all over the world. In 1987, the Wall was listed by UNESCO as a world cultural heritage site.