The Great Wall of China is a magnificent feat of architecture and engineering, stretching over 13,000 miles across China. It has stood the test of time, surviving wars, earthquakes, and even the impact of tourism. However, with its long history, it is not surprising that there are many myths and misconceptions surrounding this world wonder. In this article, we will examine some of the most popular Great Wall of China myths and separate fact from fiction, so you can have a better understanding of this incredible man-made wonder.
Myth: The Great Wall Can Be Seen from Space
There is a widespread belief that the Great Wall of China is visible from space, even from the moon. However, this is just a myth. Astronauts Eugene Cernan and Ed Lu, who have traveled in space, have both stated that the Great Wall of China is nearly invisible from their view. In fact, it is hard to see with the naked eye even from low-earth orbit. Although the Great Wall is an impressive structure, it is not visible from space.
Fact: The Great Wall Is Not One Continuous Wall
Contrary to popular belief, the Great Wall of China is not a single, continuous wall. Rather, it is a series of fortifications and walls that were built over centuries by various emperors to protect China from invasions. These walls are located in different parts of the country and have different lengths, heights, and construction materials. While some sections of the Great Wall are well-preserved and open to tourists, others are in ruins or simply disappeared.
Myth: The Great Wall Was Built to Keep Out Mongol Invaders
One of the most widespread Great Wall of China myths is that it was built to defend against the Mongol hordes. While it is true that the Mongol Empire was a major threat to China during the 13th century, the construction of the Great Wall began centuries earlier, during the Warring States period (476 BCE-221 BCE), and was carried on until the Ming dynasty (1368-1644 CE). The Great Wall served not only as a fortification but also as a transportation and trading route, as well as a signal tower system.
Fact: The Great Wall Wasn’t Built Solely by Hand
Many believe that the Great Wall was built solely by the hand of man, but this is not factual. In fact, much of the material used for the construction of the Great Wall was transported using the labor of animals such as horses, donkeys, and oxen. The materials used to build the Wall also include bricks and stone, as well as more organic materials like reeds, earth, and even human bones ash.
Myth: The Great Wall Is One of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World
While the Great Wall of China is often on the list of man-made wonders of the world, it is important to note that it is not one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World. The original 7 Wonders of the Ancient World were selected by the Ancient Greeks, and they include the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and the Temple of Artemis. The Great Wall was not really known to the ancient Greeks and was constructed long after their civilization.
Fact: The Great Wall Is a World Heritage Site
While it may not be one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World, the Great Wall of China is considered to be a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This designation recognizes the cultural and historical significance of the Great Wall, which has been a part of China’s history for over 2,000 years. The Great Wall is not only a symbol of China, but it is also an important tourist attraction that draws visitors from all around the world.
It is clear that there are many myths and misconceptions surrounding the Great Wall of China. However, by examining the facts, we can gain a better understanding of this incredible achievement of human history. While the Great Wall may not be visible from space and was not built to keep out the Mongols, it remains a remarkable symbol of Chinese culture and heritage. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Great Wall of China will continue to attract visitors from around the world, who will be able to experience its beauty, history, and significance firsthand.