One of the great wonders of the world, China’s Great Wall is often a once-in-a-lifetime experience for foreigners visiting the country.
Loop News visited this historical site through the China International Press and Communication Centre (CIPCC) and spoke with Alice Hu of the Language and Culture Centre (LCC) attached to China’s Foreign Ministry.
She explained how central such a monument is to China’s people and culture.
“We believe the Great Wall is a part of Chinese culture, it represents our people and [the spirit of] innovation, wisdom and courage. So we believe this tour can help journalists understand this part of our culture more in-depth.”
The Great Wall, considered the longest man-made structure in the world, spans some 21,000 kilometres or around 13,000 miles and was first built as far back as 2,000 years ago.
Journalists visited the Great Wall at Juyongguan, a pass and trading post where much activity occurred in ancient times. This section of the wall was reinforced during the Ming dynasty to protect against Mongol invasions.
The tour included a steep climb up the stairs of the Great Wall which was daunting for some, leading to views of the surrounding valley from atop the Wall.
The site included a visit to the Cloud Platform, where buildings once stood but were later destroyed by fire. The tunnel leading to the platform is inscribed with carvings of statues of four heavenly gods and the sutra scriptures.
Here are five things you may not have known about the Great Wall:
1. The outer side of the Great Wall is higher that the inner side as the inner side the wall didn’t require as much protection as the outer side. It’s sometimes referred to as the ‘lady’s side’.
2. Contrary to popular myth, the Great Wall is not visible from space.
3. There are other fortifications along the Great Wall such as watchtowers; it’s estimated that around 25,000 watchtowers were once constructed along the length of the Wall.
4. Some daring climbers might try to traverse ‘unprotected’ parts of the Wall – that is, areas where the Wall has not been renovated and reinforced with safety bannisters and signage.
5. The Great Wall became a UNESCO heritage site in 1987.
Loop News reporter Alina Doodnath is in Beijing, China, courtesy the China International Press Communication Center (CIPCC). Share your stories of life in China, email [email protected].