The Great Wall of China
Being synonymous with China, the Great Wall is probably the only thing some will think of when you mention the country. like a writhing dragon’s tail, the Great Wall of China snakes its way across China’s northern border. As its name suggests, the Great Wall is an imposing architectural marvel, and it’s often hailed as one of the greatest man-made wonders of the world.
How Long is the Great Wall of China?
One of the few things people asked when we came back from our trip was how our visit to the Great Wall was, and if it lived up to expectations. And even though being the most iconic landmark in a whole country is a high expectation to live up to, I can say it was still even better in real life. Measuring a total of 13,170 miles (21,196km).
If you were to measure all the sections ever built, new reports suggest the Great Wall of China could be a staggering 13,170.7 miles long. The most popular (and arguably the most beautiful) section was erected during the Ming Dynasty and runs for 5,500.3 miles between Hushan to the Jiayuguan Pass. Even if you only take into consideration the main-line length of the wall (about 2,150 miles) it’s still the record-holding longest wall in the world.
For those wondering how tall the Great Wall of is, the general answer is that the structure’s height varies considerably, from 15 feet all the way to 39 feet. At its widest point, the wall is 32-feet-thick.
Construction of the Great Wall began with several smaller, unconnected walls during the 4th century and continued until the 17th century when the walls were unified by Ming emperors. Its main purpose was to protect the ancient Chinese empires from foreign invasions. At the time, and for centuries after, it was the largest military establishment on the planet.
Now, this formidable wall provides a northern border to Beijing and spans across several cities and provinces from Jiayugua in the north-east to Shanhaiguan on the east coast.
Just like a gigantic dragon, the great wall meanders up and down across mountains, deserts, and grasslands as it paves its way to the outskirts of Beijing. Contrary to popular belief, it is not one long continuous wall but actually split into different sections (interspersed with mountains) that were built to provide an impenetrable defense against enemy tribes.
These sections include the well-restored Mutianyu, the picture-perfect Jinshanling and by far the most visited and popular section, Badaling. Other sections of interest are Jiankou, Simatai, Huanghuacheng, Juyongguan, Gubeikou, Shanhai Pass and Huangyaguan. All sections are unique and have an incredible diversity of beautiful scenery. To help you decide which area to visit, here is a snapshot of the four most famous sections that promise memories for a lifetime.
Camping on the Wild Great Wall
If you are an outdoor lover and want a special experience on the Great Wall, camping is a good choice. Gazing down from a Great Wall ridge, and listening for sounds in the night, you could imagine how China’s northern sentries felt keeping watch centuries ago.
The best season for Great Wall camping is early autumn, before it gets too cold, with less cloud in the sky. Then you can best enjoy clear views of the Great Wall winding its way along the mountains during daytime. If you are lucky enough, you may also able to appreciate the milky way at night.