Explore timeless wonders of the 'Great Wall of China,' built over 2500 years #rwanda #RwOT


Comprising many interconnected walls, this grand structure is not only an emblem of resilience and architectural genius stretching across vast landscapes, but also a narrative woven into the fabric of Chinese culture and history.

The Great Wall was declared one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognized it as the largest man-made structure on Earth.

This colossal structure, spanning more than 20,000 kilometers, not only showcases ancient China's military brilliance but also serves as a testament to the indomitable spirit of its people.

For travelers and historians alike, the Wall offers a unique blend of scenic beauty and a deep dive into the rich tapestry of Chinese history.

Originating in the 7th century B.C., the Great Wall was primarily a defense mechanism against invasions. Over centuries, it was expanded and fortified by various dynasties, making it one of the most extensive construction projects ever undertaken.

The Wall's strategic importance was highlighted during early Chinese resistance against Japanese aggression in 1933, where it served as a battleground and a symbol of national pride.

To undertake the monumental task of building, maintaining, and restoring the walls, millions of people were recruited, some mandatorily.

Often, laborers had to manually transport large stones and hefty bricks to elevated mountain ridges, lacking the aid of powerful or advanced machinery in ancient times.

The precise tally of fatalities during the construction remains uncertain, yet historical accounts reveal that exhaustion, hunger, and accidents resulted in numerous deaths.

Each year, the Wall attracts millions of visitors from across the globe. Some of prominent global leaders who visited this wall, include former US Presidents, Barack Obama and George W. Bush, Queen Elizabeth II, late monarch of the United Kingdom; Vladimir Putin, the current President of Russia; and Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa, among others.

It begins at the eastern seaboard and extends to the remote western deserts, winding through 404 towns in 15 provincial regions throughout northern and central China.

Beijing, the heart of China's imperial history, houses approximately 520 kilometers of the Wall's sections.

The Wall encompasses several well-preserved sections like Juyongguan, Badaling, Huanghuacheng, Jiankou, Mutianyu, Gubeikou, Jinshanling, and Simatai, each telling its own story of the past.

Juyongguan, or Juyong Pass, is particularly notable. Nestled in the 18-kilometer-long Guangou Valley (more than 50 kilometers from Beijing), this pass has been a key military fortress since the Qin Dynasty.

Known as one of the Great Wall's three greatest mountain passes, alongside Jiayu Pass and Shanhai Pass, Juyongguan's strategic significance is matched by its stunning natural surroundings.

The Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) marked the peak of Great Wall construction, with walls built of sturdy bricks and lime mortar, reinforced with rectangular stone slabs stretching nearly 9,000km.

This period resulted in some of the most formidable and aesthetically appealing segments of the Wall, particularly those north of Beijing. The Great Wall believed to have been built in 220 Before Christ (B.C) is about 7m high and 6m wide.

Beyond its physical form, the Great Wall symbolizes more than just a series of fortifications. It includes a network of watchtowers, fortresses, and guardhouses, each piece playing a crucial role in the defense of the empire. The Wall also embodies the collective effort, determination, and sacrifice of countless individuals who built and defended it through the ages.

The Wall's inclusion in the national anthem underscores its importance as a cultural and spiritual symbol of the Chinese nation. It has witnessed the patriotism, solidarity, and strength of the Chinese people, enduring as a proud testament to their enduring spirit.

Visiting the Great Wall is akin to walking through pages of history. Each step on its weathered stones evokes images of ancient soldiers standing guard over the rugged terrain, vigilant against invaders. The experience is immersive, allowing one to not only witness but also feel the legacy of China's past.

Théophile Niyitegeka / Beijing, China

Théophile Niyitegeka

Source : https://en.igihe.com/history/article/explore-the-timeless-wonders-of-the-great-wall-of-china-built-over-2500-years

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