It is a huge monument, a construction that can be clearly identified from space but for many, the real cost of the Great Wall of China has remained hidden.

Building walls

It seems odd to think that even in the 21st Century, we still think of walls a means of protecting land, property and people – the exact reasons why the Great Wall of China was built.

A wall denotes a boundary, an obstacle over which no one is authorised to enter unless they have permission to do so.

The Great Wall of China stands as a testament to a time long past, to the skills of labourers and a dynasty that wanted to protect its wealth. But do we know the true cost of the Great Wall of China?

More than money

It took hundreds of years to complete with extensions added by dynasty heads over the centuries.

Extending over 4,000 miles over some of the most mountainous, inhospitable terrain, it is estimated over a million labourers lost their lives over the course of the building. Where the foundations have been exposed, archaeologists have found remains, thought to be of those who died creating this amazing man-made monument.

There are parts of it that are sadly crumbling and not accessible for the majority of the public. Small villages live in the shadow of parts of the wall, a world away from the well-kept steps that we see so often in traveller’s photos.

Why was the Great Wall of China built?

It was built to protect. It was also a sign of dominance, wealth and power, the main reasons why other cultures and people built huge monuments.

It is a show on engineering, a construction that is lasting the test of time. A tourist trap today, it is no longer needed as a protector of the interior of China.

A walk in history

And by exploring its history further with NCC Home Learning, you can find out more about the ancient civilisation that built this wall.

You can begin to understand how parts of this now defunct dynasty are still evident today in the culture of the fastest growing population on earth and why these types of creations and concepts were just as much about the display of wealth as they were about power and dominance.

Author

Founder of There Goes Dave. Email me at Dave@theregoesdave.com

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