The Great Wall of China is a composition of ancient bulwarks conceived by Emperor Qin Shi Huang as far back as the third century B.C. The best-preserved and prized part of the wall was constructed from the 14th century to the 17th century A.D. The Great Wall spans more than 13,000 miles in length and is revered as one of the most recognizable symbols of China.
Although the wall was not an effective stopgap for invaders that threatened Northern China, it became a proud symbol of China’s resilience in terms of civilization. The Great Wall refers to the several compositions, contractions, and barriers that make up the wall. The Great Wall has different parts, and not all of them possess a remarkable appeal. Some parts appear smooth and well-taken care of, while others have a rough and sketchy outlook. In some sections, the wall doubles and even quadruples before they overlap.
Chinese people don’t call the wall “the Great Wall.” The term the Chinese use for the Great Wall originates long before the wall was constructed in its totality. This was a period where every city in China had its walls. Even then, the walls were still closely linked with the cities, so the Chinese used one name for both entities. They used the word “Chéng”. According to Oxford Union Press’s standard concise dictionary, the term “Chéng” means both “city” and “city wall.” However, the Great Wall is more than just a city wall, so the Chinese add another adjective, “long,” not “great,” to the name. The Chinese call the great wall “cháng chéng,” which translates to mean “long city” and “long wall.”
The Great Wall is not thousands of years old like most people assume. In reality, the idea of constructing the great wall was formulated in a period that dates back 2,000 years to just after 221 BC, the period of China’s unification. In 221 BC, Qin Shi Huang, China’s first emperor, authorized a ten-year project to combine and develop their defenses into a single barrier to stop foreigners from invading their dynasty. However, fortifications from that period are no longer in existence. The Ming built the main construction of the Great Wall from 1358 to 1644. So, the Great Wall’s age is approximately 500 years.
Lastly, contrary to popular expectations, the Great Wall never stopped any invasion. The wall was easily overrun, scaled, or avoided by northern tribes that invaded China. In the 15th century, the Mongols defeated the Ming south of the Great Wall. Also, it was during a time of peace (1577–1644) that the construction of the Great wall was finished. Later on, even after the Great wall construction was completed, a local Ming general opened the far eastern gate, Shanhaiguan, to the invaders in 1644, and it fell to the Manchus. They later conquered and ruled China for over 250 years.