How old is the Great Wall of China?

Great Wall of China age: 2,700 years old​

Chu Great Wall - the Earliest Great Wall built in 7th Century BC

The most ancient Great Wall is neither the most frequently seen Ming Great Wall like Badaling or Mutianyu, nor the well-known Qin Great Wall. It is the Chu Great Wall, also named Fangcheng, 600 years older than Qin Great Wall built in the Spring and Autumn Period (770 - 476 BC). At that time, different states built the defensive walls to prevent invasions from other states and northern nomadic tribes.

Where is the Chu Great Wall? According to the ancient book “Han Geography”, Fangcheng should be in current Fangcheng County in Nanyang City, Henan Province. At the northwestern foot of Fangcheng Mountain in Fangcheng County, there is a Daguankou Chu Great Wall relics site with many Great Wall reclics scattering around. The Great Wall here was built by the mountains with soil and stones. The different parts cooperate with each other, forming a rare military defense project easy to defend and difficult to attack. In addition to Fangcheng County, the Chu Great Wall in Nanzhao County is the largest and most complete. By experts scant, Chu Great Wall zigzaged from Zhuxi County of Hubei Provice to Henan Provice with a total length of nearly 500 kilometers (310 miles).

How many years did it take to build the Great Wall of China? - over 2,500 years

People may wonder how long to build the Great Wall of China. The Great Wall was not constructed in only one dynasty or in a short period. It was built throughout the dynasties. As early as in the Spring and Autumn Period (770 - 476BC), many states had been building defensive walls to protect themselves from invasions. After the unification of China by Emperor Qin Shi Huang, he ordered the dismantling of the defensive walls in the south, and large-scale repairing and connecting of the walls in the north, making them into a giant defensive line against the northern nomands. The later dynasties had constructed the Wall at different scales. The final construction was in 1878 during the late Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911AD).

Most Great Wall sites we see today are 600 years old, built during the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644).

The Ming Great Wall starts from Mountain Hushan in the east to Jiayuguan Pass in the west, measuring 8,851.8 km (5,500.3 mi) long. The popular sections include Badaling, Mutianyu, Juyongguan, Simatai, and Jinshanling. Like many other dynasties, Ming was also harassed by nomadic people from the north. In the face of the increasingly dangerous threat of nomads, the Ming emperors ordered to built the Great Wall to guard their territory.

How old is the Great Wall of China at Badaling? - 500 years old

Badaling had been a critical military strategic area in ancent times. During the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period, Badaling Great Wall was constructed to defend against the intrusion of the northern nomadic people. In the Ming Dynasty, to strengthen the defense and protect capital Beijing, Badaling had undergone a restoration for more than 80 years since 1505. The current one we see today was built then. It is the best preserved section and the essence of Ming Great Wall.

How old is the Great Wall of China at Mutianyu? - 600 years old

The construction of the Mutianyu Great Wall was finished in 1404. In 1373, Xu Da, a famous Ming general came to Mutianyu area by the order of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang to observe the troops and military situation. After years of wars, a large majority of the military defensive project had been ruins. Xu Da knew the grographic and military significance of Mutianyu based on his years of battle experience. However, at that time, Ming Dynasty had just begun, and the most labor-intensive construction of Mutianyu cound only be put aside. It was not until 1404 that the Mutianyu Great Wall was finished renovation.

Juyongguan, Simatai, Jinshanling Great Walls are 650 years old.

JuyongguanSimatai, and Jinshanling in Beijing was initially built in 1368 in the early Ming Dynsty, to defend the central plain against the invasions fromn northern nomadic tribes.

Jiayuguan Great Wall in Gansu is 650 years old, first built in 1372 in early Ming Dynasty.

Shanhaiguan Great Wall in Hebei is 640 years old, first built in 1381 in early Ming Dynasty.

Dunhuang Great Wall, Yumenguan Pass, and Yangguan Pass in Gansu are over 2,100 years old, built around 116 BC in the Western Han Dynasty (202 BC - 9AD).

- Last updated on May. 13, 2020 -
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