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Qin Dynasty Great Wall

Qin Dynasty Great Wall
Qin Great Wall

The Great Wall of Qin Dynasty (221BC-207 BC) was built during the resign of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, along its northern border to prevent the invasion of Huns. In 221BC, Emperor Qin Shi Huang unified China for the first time after annexing other six states. However, the nomadic Huns in the north were still a constant threat because the Huns often invaded the southern farmers and looted their properties. To safeguard his people and territory, Emperor Qin Shi Huang ordered about 300,000 soldiers to fight back under the command of General Meng Tian. But the threat was not eliminated, hence he ordered the giant military defensive wall be built.

How the 10,000-Li Great Wall Came into Being
Qin Shi Huang was not the first one to build the Great Wall. As early as the Zhou Dynasty (1046BC-256BC), many states had already built the defensive walls along their borders to prevent attacks from other states and northern Huns. But most sections were only 2,000 to 3,000 li (621 to 932 miles) long. Emperor Qin Shi Huang mainly renovated the Northern Wall of Yan State, the Northern Wall of Zhao State, and the Qin State Wall, and built some sections of his own to link them together, forming a magnificent, giant and connected defensive wall. This is the 10,000-li Great Wall called by later generations.

There is no specific record about how long the Qin Dynasty Great Wall is. If we do math based on its name, "10,000-li Great Wall", it is 5,000 kilometers long, or 3,107 miles, for one li equals to 0.5 kilometer, or 0.3107 mile.

The construction of the wall cost many lives and a great deal of money and materials. The builders were civilians, soldiers, and convicted criminals. The wall was made of rammed earth and stones, which were acquired locally. In spite of the enormous cost, the wall did function as a strong defense in that it protected people from wars and maintained peace and stability of the Qin Dynasty.

Qin Dynasty Great Wall Was Divided into Two Parts by Yellow River
The wall consists of two parts: one part to the south of Yellow River, and the other to the north of the river.

The southern part ran from Lintao (today's Minxian County in Gansu Province), via Guyuan County in Ningxia, Huanxian in Gansu, Jingbian County, Hengshan District, Yuyang District, and Shenmu County of Yulin in Shaanxi, Tuoketuo County in Inner Mongolia, and ends at the southern bank of the Yellow River.

The northern part starts from Langshan Mountain in the west, across Daqing Mountain, via Jining District and Xinghe County of Ulanqab in Inner Mongolia, Shangyi County, Zhangbei County, and Weichang County in Hebei, and enters Liaoning Province. After crossing Fushun and Benxi in Liaoning, it turns southeast, and ends at the estuary of Qingchuan River.

Qin Dynasty Great Wall Map
Qin Dynasty Great wall Map

 Relics of the Great Wall of Qin Dynasty
Nowadays, the relics can be found in Guyang County and Urat Front Banner in Inner Mongolia.

 The relics in Guyang are 75 miles (120 kilometers) long. The wall was mainly built on the northern slope of mountains, and is piled up by stone slabs, without any filling. The best-preserved section is in Jiufenzi Town, Guyang County. It has a total length of 7.5 miles (12 kilometers). The wall is 3.4 yards (3.1 meters) wide at the bottom, and 3 yards (2.8 meters) wide at the top. The outside is 16 feet (5 meters) high from the outside, and the inside is 7 feet (5 meters) high.

Also, there are four sites of beacon towers along the wall, which are also piled up by stone slabs. At the highland near the beacon towers are the sites of stone walls, which could be sentry posts in the past. Hundreds of cliff paintings can be seen near the wall. These paintings vividly portray sheep, camels, dancers, cavalry, and Turkic scripts, reflecting the lifestyle of northern nomadic people. Additionally, ancient potsherds can be found near the wall.

 The relics in Urat Front Banner have been found in the heart of Yinshan Mountains. The stone wall is 124 miles (200 kilometers) long, 11 feet (3.5 meters) high, 4.5 yards (4.1 meters) wide at the bottom, and 1.6 yards (1.5 meters) wide at the top. Sites of beacon towers can be found along the wall at intervals of about 0.6 mile (1 kilometer).

Great Wall of Qin Dynasty
Qin Dynasty Wall, Guyang, Inner Mongolia
Ruins of Qin Great Wall
Wall Ruins of the Qin, Zhangbei, Hebei

 Urgent Protection is Needed
The Qin Dynasty Great Wall suffers a lot from natural erosion in the past 2,200 years. Most parts have disappeared, collapsed, or been dilapidated. The blue or yellow stone slabs are covered with black or dark brown oxide. In addition, human activity is another destructive factor. Some stones were removed, and the wall was torn down. Fortunately, the government has invested a large amount of money in the restoration of the wall in west Inner Mongolia. More than 328 yards (300 meters) wall has been repaired. Scientific excavations are being made at some beacon towers, fortresses, and sentry posts. But, this is far from enough in renovating the linear heritage. We should act now to protect the wall before its disappearance.

 Further reading: Qin Dynasty , General Meng Tian Attacked the Huns in the North