Great Wall of China Facts for Kids
There are several historical sites all over the world called Great Wall, such as the Great Wall of the Alps - Fenestrelle Fortress in Italy and Great Wall of Germany - Berlin Wall. Among them, the most famous one is the Great Wall of China, which is located in China, the ancient civilization country. To be specific, it is located in northern China and the best known sections are around its capital, Beijing.
2. How to pronounce the Chinese name for the Great Wall? – 长城
长 cháng 城 chéng
长: It literally means long, which refers to the length of the Great Wall. It is the longest man-made structure in human history, so it is great.
城: It literally means fortress. Why not wall? It’s because the fact that Great Wall of China isn’t actually a common wall. The wall, together with watchtowers, beacon towers and passes, etc, constitute a complete defensive fortress.
We’ve mentioned that the Great Wall is very long just above. How long is it indeed? The Ming Great Wall we can see today has a total length of 8,851.8 km (5,500 miles). If measured by the Chinese traditional length unit “Li”, it is 17,703.6 Li. Therefore, there was the name“10,000-Li Wall”.
In fact, the total length of the Great Wall built in the past dynasties far exceeds this figure. China’s State Administration of Cultural Heritage announced in 2012 that the total length of the Great Wall built in different dynasties is 21,196.18 km (13,170.70 mi), equal to half the length of the Equator!
4. The Great Wall is 2,700 years old.
It is generally believed that the construction of the Great Wall began in the 7th Century BC in Spring and Autumn Period (770 – 476 BC). After Qin Shihuang unified China, he ordered to connect the previous walls to form a very long connective defensive wall. Following Qin, almost all the dynasties were eneaged in the construction.
See more How old is Great Wall of China?
5. It was elected as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007.
In 2007, the Great Wall of China become one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and ranked first on the list. The following six are Petra Jordan, Christ Redeemer Brazil, Machu Picchu Peru, Chichen Itza Mexico, The Roman Colosseum Italy, Taj Mahal.
6. It is not only a “wall”.
The Great Wall of China was three-dimensional, with an average height of 6 to 7 meters (20 to 23 feet) and the highest point being 14 meters (46 feet). Its average width is 6.5 meters (21.3 feet). In ancient times, soldiers marched, raced, and transported military supplies on it; they also observed the enemy’s movements through watchtowers and transmitted military signal through beacon towers. Along the wall, there are also passes used to station troops. Therefore, the Great Wall was a military barrier to effectively prevent the invasion of northern nomads.
The Great Wall of China is quite long and has a certain width, therefore there is a rumor that people can see it from the space. But in fact, it is invisible with naked eyes.
This is the most widely spread Great Wall story. When the Great Wall was constructed in Qin Dynasty (221 - 207 BC), the labor force was extremely heavy. Fan Xiliang were forced to build the Great Wall just three days after his wedding. Soon he died on the construction site because of hunger and cold, and his bones were buried under the wall. His wife, Meng Jiangnu, had gone through many difficulties and finally came to the Great Wall, but got the bad news of her husband’s death. Feeling so sad, she cried for three days and three nights on the Great Wall. Suddenly the Great Wall collapsed and revealed the body of Fan Xiliang. After, Meng Jiangnu buried his husband and died in desperation. We have no clue to prove if this story is true or not. But the Great Wall fact is that ancient Chinese suffered a lot during its construction.
See more Stories of Great Wall of China
9. Chairman Mao said, “ He who doesn’t reach the Great Wall is not a true man”.
As a matter of fact, this sentence was not written on the Great Wall, but when Chairman Mao led his troops to climb over the Liupan Mountain. It mainly reflected the spirit of positiveness. The fun fact is that there is a place incribed with this sentence on the Great Wall. Come with your parents to Beijing to find it! It is located on the highest point of the Badaling Great Wall, North 8 Watchtower, with an elevation of 888 meters (2,913 feet).
10. Try the exciting toboggan down the Great Wall.
Not only historical relics, Great Wall offers special fun for kids. There are toboggans or slides in Badaling and Mutianyu Great Wall, and children over 6 years old can have a try accompanied by their parents.