How wide is the Great Wall of China?

Average Width: 4-5 meters (13-16 feet)


The Great Wall of China is not the common wall; it has a certain width.

There is normally no concept of width but thickness of wall. For common buildings, the outer wall used for enclose is generally 24-40cm (9 - 16in) thick, and the inner wall for division is 10-24cm (4 - 9in) thick. On the Great Wall, the thickness of the wall is 40-50cm (16 -20in). The concept of Great Wall width came from that it is indeed wide. In ancient China, the Great Wall of China was used as a military fortification, and the space between the inner and outer walls were filled in for marching and transporting supplies, hence making the Great Wall as wide as 4-5 meters (13-16 feet), which can allow 10 soldiers to walk shoulder by shoulder. The current single-lane motorway is generally 3.5 meters (11.5 feet) wide. Assuming that cars can be driven up there, the Great Wall can accommodate two.

Great Wall of China Width

The Great Wall width differs in different sections.

The wall structure of the Great Wall of China is different in different sections. In the plain or important military locations, the walls were built to be tall and solid; on steep mountain ridges, the walls were relatively low and narrow. Shanhaiguan, Jinshanling, Badaling, Mutianyu and some other Great Wall sections in Hebei and Beijing areas are relatively complete. They are about 10 meters (33 feet) high on average, 7 - 8 meters (23 - 26 feet) wide at the bottom, and 4 - 5 meters (13 - 16 feet) wide at the top of the wall. The brick used to construct the wall is 0.4 meters (1.3 feet) long, 0.2 meters (0.7 feet) wide, 0.1 meters (0.3 feet) thick and about 15 kilograms heavy for each.

The widest part of the Great Wall: 16.7m (54.8ft)

The wide Great Wall is about 8-10 meters (26 - 33ft). The Juyongguan Great Wall has a big variation in width, with a maximum width of 16.7 meters and a minimum width of 1.2 meters (3.9 feet).

The narrowest part of the Great Wall: 70cm (2.3 feet)

Northern Qi Great Wall in Zunhua City of Hebei Province has a length of about 1km (0.6 mi), a height of 1meter (3.3 feet) and a width of 70 cm. It was simply built of stones, because Qifeng Mountain where the Wall stands is precipitous, easy to keep but difficult to defend.  

Calculation Method for Great Wall Width

The ratio of width to height decides how wide the Great Wall is. For instance, if the wall is 4 meters high (13.1 feet), the base should be 5 meters (16.4 feet) wide; if the height increases or decreases by 1 meter (3.3 feet), the width of the base should increase or decrease by 1 meter and the width of the top should increase or decrease by 0.5 meter (1.6 feet) accordingly.

The Great Wall is wider at the base and narrower on the top.

No matter what kind of material was used for constructing the wall, the longitudinal section was a trapezoid with wide base and narrow top. This was formed by the upward contraction of the both sides of the walls to enhance the stability. The ratio of upward contraction was different based on different building materials and terrains. In history of Great Wall construction, there also seemed no regulations on the contraction ratio. In general, if the wall was 6 or 7 meters (20 or 23 feet) wide at the bottom, the top was 2 meters (7 feet) narrower, and the angle between the wall and the ground was about 80 degrees.  

How wide is the Great Wall of China?
How wide is the Great Wall of China?

How wide is the Great Wall of China at Badaling?

Top: 4.5-5.8 meters (15-19 feet)
Base: 6.5-7.5 meters (21-25 feet)

How wide is the Great Wall of China at Mutianyu?

Top: 4 to 5 meters (13-16 feet)
- Last updated on Aug. 09, 2019 -
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