The Great Wall of China
Spanning the historical northern borders of China from east to west over about 5000 miles, the Great Wall of China was built to protect the Chinese states and empires against invasions. Built in many stages over a span of 2000 years, almost a million people–workers and soldiers–came together to create the wall. Sections of are made of tamped earth and wood. Later sections built during the Ming Dynasty use bricks and limestone. In most sections, the wall is 25 feet tall and 15-30 feet wide. It makes for a dynamic walking adventure. A recent archaeological survey measured the combined length of the wall and its many smaller branches–the result was an astonishing distance of 13,171 miles. But in recent years, archaeologists have used infrared devices to discover about 70 additional miles of wall–and their research is still underway.
Visitors to the Great Wall can access it in many Chinese cities and rural areas. While some sections of the wall, like those near Beijing, are frequently renovated and restored, much of the wall is in various states of disrepair. The Chinese describe the Great Wall as a dragon, winding its way along the border.