Friday 15 December 2017

China's Great Wall a lot greater than we thought

The great wall of China outside Beijing. Photo: Getty Images
The great wall of China outside Beijing. Photo: Getty Images

Malcolm Moore in Beijing

THE Great Wall of China is more than twice as long as originally thought, as the first attempt to measure all of it found more than 13,000 miles, built over the course of 13 dynasties.

Contrary to popular belief, the Great Wall, pictured, is not a single wall, but a series of often overlapping defensive fortifications, some brick and others of packed earth, built over the course of nearly 2,000 years, many of which run parallel to each other.

Beginning in 2007, teams of surveyors fanned out across 15 Chinese provinces to measure every wall, or trace of a wall, they could find.

"This figure (of 13,173 miles) takes into consideration all of the walls that were ever built, even if they are no longer still standing," said Dong Yaohui, the deputy director of China's Great Wall Association.

Previously, the length of the Great Wall had been put at around 5,500 miles: the span of the main, Ming Dynasty wall.

"The Ming Wall has only been mapped twice, once by the Jesuits in the 1700s under the orders of the Kangxi emperor, and then again in 2006," said William Lindesay, a British expert on the wall.

"Soon after they finished in 2006, the State Administration of Cultural Heritage ordered teams in every province to measure any of the walls that were in their jurisdiction. Thirteen dynasties ordered walls to be built, so this is the sum total of the walls of the other 12." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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