If you’re considering traveling to China, you won’t want to leave without visiting The Great Wall of China. It’s one of the most marveled at fortifications in the world and attracts over 10 million visitors yearly. Built thousands of years ago to keep enemies out, it still stands today as a crucial emblem of China’s history. Below, you’ll find what we thought to be six of the most significant facts about this medieval work of architecture.

1. Nearly one million people died during the building of the wall. Thus, it was dubbed the name “the longest cemetery.” A legend is that those who died were ground up and mixed in with the mortar to help build the wall. Others say that they were just buried in mass graves alongside the wall.

2. Builders used rice in the mortar to construct the wall. Rice was beneficial because of a substance called amylopectin, a key component in making rice sticky. It was a major contributor to the wall’s strength and durability.

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3. You may notice that the wall turns and winds, resembling the shape of a dragon. Legend has it that an amicable dragon assisted workers by mapping out the construction. Builders simply followed the tracks that the dragon had paved. The wall ends at the “old dragon’s head.”

4. Emperor Qin Shi Huang, China’s first emperor, ordered the construction of the first version of the wall. After forging his way to the throne, he began ruling with an iron fist. His rule led to great despair, and he is known as one of the most hated rulers to this day.

emperor qin shi huang

5. It is said that the wall was built by soldiers and convicts. Unfortunately, when the convicts died during their sentence, they had to be replaced by their family members.

6. Children were forced to help build the wall. This is because builders died often and had to be replaced. Furthermore, the wall (over 13 thousand miles long) was a tumultuous task and needed as many builders as possible. Devastation resulted from children being drafted to build the wall. Families were torn apart, and women were left without sons and husbands to provide for them.

There is a plethora of interesting facts about The Great Wall of China. This blog only begins the exploration. To learn more, conduct thorough research or consider making this magnificent construction your next trip destination.

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