Destination List > Great Wall of China

Great Wall of China

Photo by Keith Roper

The history...

The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications that were built across the northern borders of ancient Chinese states and Imperial China as protection against nomadic groups from the Eurasian Steppe.

Several walls were built as early as the 7th century BC, with other stretches joined later by Qin Shi Huang (220–206 BC), the first emperor of China. Little of the Qin wall remains. Later, many successive dynasties built and maintained multiple stretches of border walls. The best-known sections of the wall were built by the Ming dynasty (1368–1644).

In addition to being used for defense, the Great Wall was also used for border controls, allowing duties to be put on goods transported along the Silk Road, regulation or encouragement of trade and the control of immigration and emigration. 

The walls defensive characteristics were enhanced by the construction of watchtowers, troop barracks, and garrison stations. Signaling capabilities were added through the use of smoke or fire. The path of the Great Wall also served as a transportation corridor.

The frontier walls built by different dynasties have multiple courses that they follow. Together, they stretch from Liaodong in the east to Lop Lake in the west, from the present-day Sino–Russian border in the north to Tao River (Taohe) in the south; along an arc that roughly delineates the edge of the Mongolian steppe; spanning 21,196.18 km (13,170.70 mi) in total.

Today, the defensive system of the Great Wall is generally recognized as one of the most impressive architectural feats in history.

Source: Wikipedia

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Get a birds eye view of the Great Wall on a cable car ride to the summit.


Enjoy the scenic views from the No. 8 North Tower. Go early and be treated to an amazing sunrise.


Feeling adventurous? Take the toboggan, a gentle roller coaster, back down to the parking lot.


Take a photo at the "True Hero" tablet


Walk the Great Wall when it is lit up at night.


Explore the watchtowers as you walk the Great Wall.

Did you know?

6 to 7 m

avg height

The average height of the wall is between 6 and 7 meters tall. It's highest point is 14 meters (46 ft).

21,196 km

total length

If you were to put each span of the Great Wall of China into one continuous wall, its length would be just over 21,196 km (13,170 miles).

China, journey on...