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Hotels of Great Wall of China

A hotel in Great Wall of China is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger in Great Wall of China hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms in Great Wall of China are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some Great Wall of China hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most Great Wall of China hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels in Great Wall of China have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:

Upscale luxury hotels in Great Wall of China
An upscale full service hotel facility in Great Wall of China that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury Great Wall of China hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.

Full service hotels in Great Wall of China
Full service Great Wall of China hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.

Historic inns and boutique hotels in Great Wall of China
Boutique hotels of Great Wall of China are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Great Wall of China boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels in Great Wall of China may be classified as luxury hotels.

Focused or select service hotels in Great Wall of China
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of Great Wall of China travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most Great Wall of China focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.

Economy and limited service hotels in Great Wall of China
Small to medium-sized Great Wall of China hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded Great Wall of China traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service Great Wall of China hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.

Guest houses and B&Bs in Great Wall of China
A bed and breakfast in Great Wall of China is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, Great Wall of China bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical Great Wall of China B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.

Hostels in Great Wall of China
Great Wall of China hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many Great Wall of China hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.

Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels in Great Wall of China
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized Great Wall of China hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels in Great Wall of China lack an on-site restaurant.

Timeshare and destination clubs in Great Wall of China
Great Wall of China timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts in Great Wall of China often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of Great Wall of China on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.

Motels in Great Wall of China
A Great Wall of China motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of Great Wall of China for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of Great Wall of China motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.

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Travelling and vacation in Great Wall of China

Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China at Jinshanling-edit.jpg
The Great Wall of China at Jinshanling
Map of the Great Wall of China.jpg
Map of all the wall constructions
General information
Type Fortification
Country China
Coordinates  / 40.68; 117.23  / 40.68; 117.23
Technical details
Size 21,196 km (13,171 mi)
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Criteria Cultural: (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (vi) Edit this on Wikidata
Reference 438
Inscription 1987 (11th Session)
[edit on Wikidata]
Great Wall of China
Simplified Chinese 长城
Traditional Chinese 長城
Literal meaning "The Long Wall"
Standard Mandarin
Hanyu Pinyin Chángchéng
Wade–Giles Ch'ang-ch'eng
IPA [ʈʂʰǎŋ.ʈʂʰə̌ŋ]
Romanization Saon sen
Yue: Cantonese
Yale Romanization Cheung sing
IPA [tsʰœ̏ːŋ.sȅŋ]
Jyutping Coengsing
Southern Min
Hokkien POJ Tn̂g-siâⁿ
Tâi-lô Tn̂g-siânn
Alternative Chinese name
Simplified Chinese 万里长城
Traditional Chinese 萬里長城
Literal meaning "The 10,000-Mile Long Wall"
Romanization Vae-li saon-sen
Yue: Cantonese
Yale Romanization Maanlei Cheungsing
IPA [màːn.le̬i tsʰœ̏ːŋ.sȅŋ]
Jyutping Maan-lei coeng-sing
Southern Min
Tâi-lô Bān-lí tn̂g-siânn

The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications made of stone, brick, tamped earth, wood, and other materials, generally built along an east-to-west line across the historical northern borders of China to protect the Chinese states and empires against the raids and invasions of the various nomadic groups of the Eurasian Steppe. Several walls were being built as early as the 7th century BC; these, later joined together and made bigger and stronger, are now collectively referred to as the Great Wall. Especially famous is the wall built 220–206 BC by Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. Little of that wall remains. Since then, the Great Wall has been rebuilt, maintained, and enhanced; the majority of the existing wall is from the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644).

Other purposes of the Great Wall have included border controls, allowing the imposition of duties on goods transported along the Silk Road, regulation or encouragement of trade and the control of immigration and emigration. Furthermore, the defensive characteristics of the Great Wall were enhanced by the construction of watch towers, troop barracks, garrison stations, signaling capabilities through the means of smoke or fire, and the fact that the path of the Great Wall also served as a transportation corridor.

The Great Wall stretches from Dandong in the east to Lop Lake in the west, along an arc that roughly delineates the southern edge of Inner Mongolia. A comprehensive archaeological survey, using advanced technologies, has concluded that the Ming walls measure 8,850 km (5,500 mi). This is made up of 6,259 km (3,889 mi) sections of actual wall, 359 km (223 mi) of trenches and 2,232 km (1,387 mi) of natural defensive barriers such as hills and rivers. Another archaeological survey found that the entire wall with all of its branches measure out to be 21,196 km (13,171 mi).

Great Wall of China: Names

The collection of fortifications now known as "The Great Wall of China" has historically had a number of different names in both Chinese and English.

In Chinese histories, the term "Long Wall(s)" (長城, changcheng) appears in Sima Qian's Records of the Grand Historian, where it referred to both the separate great walls built between and north of the Warring States and to the more unified construction of the First Emperor. The Chinese character is a phono-semantic compound of the "place" or "earth" radical and , whose Old Chinese pronunciation has been reconstructed as *deŋ. It originally referred to the rampart which surrounded traditional Chinese cities and was used by extension for these walls around their respective states; today, however, it is much more often simply the Chinese word for "city".

The longer Chinese name "Ten-Thousand-Mile Long Wall" (萬里長城, Wanli Changcheng) came from Sima Qian's description of it in the Records, though he did not name the walls as such. The AD 493 Book of Song quotes the frontier general Tan Daoji referring to "the long wall of 10,000 miles", closer to the modern name, but the name rarely features in pre-modern times otherwise. The traditional Chinese mile (, lǐ) was an often irregular distance that was intended to show the length of a standard village and varied with terrain but was usually standardized at distances around a third of an English mile (540 m). Since China's metrication in 1930, it has been exactly equivalent to 500 metres or 1,600 feet, which would make the wall's name describe a distance of 5,000 km (3,100 mi). However, this use of "ten-thousand" (wàn) is figurative in a similar manner to the Greek and English myriad and simply means "innumerable" or "immeasurable".

Because of the wall's association with the First Emperor's supposed tyranny, the Chinese dynasties after Qin usually avoided referring to their own additions to the wall by the name "Long Wall". Instead, various terms were used in medieval records, including "frontier(s)" (, sāi), "rampart(s)" (, yuán), "barrier(s)" (, zhàng), "the outer fortresses" (外堡, wàibǎo), and "the border wall(s)" (t 邊牆, s 边墙, biānqiáng). Poetic and informal names for the wall included "the Purple Frontier" (紫塞, Zǐsāi) and "the Earth Dragon" (t 土龍, s 土龙, Tǔlóng). Only during the Qing period did "Long Wall" become the catch-all term to refer to the many border walls regardless of their location or dynastic origin, equivalent to the English "Great Wall".

The current English name evolved from accounts of "the Chinese wall" from early modern European travelers. By the 19th century, "The Great Wall of China" had become standard in English, French, and German, although other European languages continued to refer to it as "the Chinese wall".

Great Wall of China: History

Great Wall of China: Early walls

The Great Wall of the Qin
The Great Wall of the Han

The Chinese were already familiar with the techniques of wall-building by the time of the Spring and Autumn period between the 8th and 5th centuries BC. During this time and the subsequent Warring States period, the states of Qin, Wei, Zhao, Qi, Yan, and Zhongshan all constructed extensive fortifications to defend their own borders. Built to withstand the attack of small arms such as swords and spears, these walls were made mostly by stamping earth and gravel between board frames.

King Zheng of Qin conquered the last of his opponents and unified China as the First Emperor of the Qin dynasty ("Qin Shi Huang") in 221 BC. Intending to impose centralized rule and prevent the resurgence of feudal lords, he ordered the destruction of the sections of the walls that divided his empire among the former states. To position the empire against the Xiongnu people from the north, however, he ordered the building of new walls to connect the remaining fortifications along the empire's northern frontier. Transporting the large quantity of materials required for construction was difficult, so builders always tried to use local resources. Stones from the mountains were used over mountain ranges, while rammed earth was used for construction in the plains. There are no surviving historical records indicating the exact length and course of the Qin walls. Most of the ancient walls have eroded away over the centuries, and very few sections remain today. The human cost of the construction is unknown, but it has been estimated by some authors that hundreds of thousands, if not up to a million, workers died building the Qin wall. Later, the Han, the Sui, and the Northern dynasties all repaired, rebuilt, or expanded sections of the Great Wall at great cost to defend themselves against northern invaders. The Tang and Song dynasties did not undertake any significant effort in the region. The Liao, Jin, and Yuan dynasties, who ruled Northern China throughout most of the 10th–13th centuries, constructed defensive walls in the 12th century but those were located much to the north of the Great Wall as we know it, within China's province of Inner Mongolia and in Mongolia itself.

Great Wall of China: Ming era

The extent of the Ming Empire and its walls

The Great Wall concept was revived again under the Ming in the 14th century, and following the Ming army's defeat by the Oirats in the Battle of Tumu. The Ming had failed to gain a clear upper hand over the Mongolian tribes after successive battles, and the long-drawn conflict was taking a toll on the empire. The Ming adopted a new strategy to keep the nomadic tribes out by constructing walls along the northern border of China. Acknowledging the Mongol control established in the Ordos Desert, the wall followed the desert's southern edge instead of incorporating the bend of the Yellow River.

Unlike the earlier fortifications, the Ming construction was stronger and more elaborate due to the use of bricks and stone instead of rammed earth. Up to 25,000 watchtowers are estimated to have been constructed on the wall. As Mongol raids continued periodically over the years, the Ming devoted considerable resources to repair and reinforce the walls. Sections near the Ming capital of Beijing were especially strong. Qi Jiguang between 1567 and 1570 also repaired and reinforced the wall, faced sections of the ram-earth wall with bricks and constructed 1,200 watchtowers from Shanhaiguan Pass to Changping to warn of approaching Mongol raiders. During the 1440s–1460s, the Ming also built a so-called "Liaodong Wall". Similar in function to the Great Wall (whose extension, in a sense, it was), but more basic in construction, the Liaodong Wall enclosed the agricultural heartland of the Liaodong province, protecting it against potential incursions by Jurched-Mongol Oriyanghan from the northwest and the Jianzhou Jurchens from the north. While stones and tiles were used in some parts of the Liaodong Wall, most of it was in fact simply an earth dike with moats on both sides.

Towards the end of the Ming, the Great Wall helped defend the empire against the Manchu invasions that began around 1600. Even after the loss of all of Liaodong, the Ming army held the heavily fortified Shanhai Pass, preventing the Manchus from conquering the Chinese heartland. The Manchus were finally able to cross the Great Wall in 1644, after Beijing had already fallen to Li Zicheng's rebels. Before this time, the Manchus had crossed the Great Wall multiple times to raid, but this time it was for conquest. The gates at Shanhai Pass were opened on May 25 by the commanding Ming general, Wu Sangui, who formed an alliance with the Manchus, hoping to use the Manchus to expel the rebels from Beijing. The Manchus quickly seized Beijing, and eventually defeated both the rebel-founded Shun dynasty and the remaining Ming resistance, establishing the Qing dynasty rule over all of China.

Under Qing rule, China's borders extended beyond the walls and Mongolia was annexed into the empire, so constructions on the Great Wall were discontinued. On the other hand, the so-called Willow Palisade, following a line similar to that of the Ming Liaodong Wall, was constructed by the Qing rulers in Manchuria. Its purpose, however, was not defense but rather migration control.

Great Wall of China: Foreign accounts

Part of the Great Wall of China (April 1853, X, p. 41)
The Great Wall in 1907

None of the Europeans who visited Yuan China or Mongolia, such as Marco Polo, Giovanni da Pian del Carpine, William of Rubruck, Giovanni de' Marignolli and Odoric of Pordenone, mentioned the Great Wall.

The North African traveler Ibn Battuta, who also visited China during the Yuan dynasty ca. 1346, had heard about China's Great Wall, possibly before he had arrived in China. He wrote that the wall is "sixty days' travel" from Zeitun (modern Quanzhou) in his travelogue Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling. He associated it with the legend of the wall mentioned in the Qur'an, which Dhul-Qarnayn (commonly associated with Alexander the Great) was said to have erected to protect people near the land of the rising sun from the savages of Gog and Magog. However, Ibn Battuta could find no one who had either seen it or knew of anyone who had seen it, suggesting that although there were remnants of the wall at that time, they weren't significant.

Soon after Europeans reached Ming China by ship in the early 16th century, accounts of the Great Wall started to circulate in Europe, even though no European was to see it for another century. Possibly one of the earliest European descriptions of the wall and of its significance for the defense of the country against the "Tartars" (i.e. Mongols), may be the one contained in João de Barros's 1563 Asia. Other early accounts in Western sources include those of Gaspar da Cruz, Bento de Goes, Matteo Ricci, and Bishop Juan González de Mendoza. In 1559, in his work "A Treatise of China and the Adjoyning Regions," Gaspar da Cruz offers an early discussion of the Great Wall. Perhaps the first recorded instance of a European actually entering China via the Great Wall came in 1605, when the Portuguese Jesuit brother Bento de Góis reached the northwestern Jiayu Pass from India. Early European accounts were mostly modest and empirical, closely mirroring contemporary Chinese understanding of the Wall, although later they slid into hyperbole, including the erroneous but ubiquitous claim that the Ming Walls were the same ones that were built by the First Emperor in the 3rd century BC.

When China opened its borders to foreign merchants and visitors after its defeat in the First and Second Opium Wars, the Great Wall became a main attraction for tourists. The travelogues of the later 19th century further enhanced the reputation and the mythology of the Great Wall, such that in the 20th century, a persistent misconception exists about the Great Wall of China being visible from the Moon or even Mars.

Great Wall of China: Course

The main sections of the Great Wall that are still standing today
An area of the sections of the Great Wall at Jinshanling

Although a formal definition of what constitutes a "Great Wall" has not been agreed upon, making the full course of the Great Wall difficult to describe in its entirety, the course of the main Great Wall line following Ming constructions can be charted.

The Jiayu Pass, located in Gansu province, is the western terminus of the Ming Great Wall. Although Han fortifications such as Yumen Pass and the Yang Pass exist further west, the extant walls leading to those passes are difficult to trace. From Jiayu Pass the wall travels discontinuously down the Hexi Corridor and into the deserts of Ningxia, where it enters the western edge of the Yellow River loop at Yinchuan. Here the first major walls erected during the Ming dynasty cuts through the Ordos Desert to the eastern edge of the Yellow River loop. There at Piantou Pass (t 偏頭關, s 偏头关, Piāntóuguān) in Xinzhou, Shanxi province, the Great Wall splits in two with the "Outer Great Wall" (t 外長城, s 外长城, Wài Chǎngchéng) extending along the Inner Mongolia border with Shanxi into Hebei province, and the "inner Great Wall" (t 內長城, s 內长城, Nèi Chǎngchéng) running southeast from Piantou Pass for some 400 km (250 mi), passing through important passes like the Pingxing Pass and Yanmen Pass before joining the Outer Great Wall at Sihaiye (四海冶, Sìhǎiyě), in Beijing's Yanqing County.

The sections of the Great Wall around Beijing municipality are especially famous: they were frequently renovated and are regularly visited by tourists today. The Badaling Great Wall near Zhangjiakou is the most famous stretch of the Wall, for this is the first section to be opened to the public in the People's Republic of China, as well as the showpiece stretch for foreign dignitaries. South of Badaling is the Juyong Pass; when used by the Chinese to protect their land, this section of the wall had many guards to defend China's capital Beijing. Made of stone and bricks from the hills, this portion of the Great Wall is 7.8 m (25 ft 7 in) high and 5 m (16 ft 5 in) wide.

One of the most striking sections of the Ming Great Wall is where it climbs extremely steep slopes in Jinshanling. There it runs 11 km (7 mi) long, ranges from 5 to 8 m (16 ft 5 in to 26 ft 3 in) in height, and 6 m (19 ft 8 in) across the bottom, narrowing up to 5 m (16 ft 5 in) across the top. Wangjinglou (t 望京樓, s 望京楼, Wàngjīng Lóu) is one of Jinshanling's 67 watchtowers, 980 m (3,220 ft) above sea level. Southeast of Jinshanling is the Mutianyu Great Wall which winds along lofty, cragged mountains from the southeast to the northwest for 2.25 km (1.40 mi). It is connected with Juyongguan Pass to the west and Gubeikou to the east. This section was one of the first to be renovated following the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution.

At the edge of the Bohai Gulf is Shanhai Pass, considered the traditional end of the Great Wall and the "First Pass Under Heaven". The part of the wall inside Shanhai Pass that meets the sea is named the "Old Dragon Head". 3 km (2 mi) north of Shanhai Pass is Jiaoshan Great Wall (焦山長城), the site of the first mountain of the Great Wall. 15 km (9 mi) northeast from Shanhaiguan is Jiumenkou (t 九門口, s 九门口, Jiǔménkǒu), which is the only portion of the wall that was built as a bridge. Beyond Jiumenkou, an offshoot known as the Liaodong Wall continues through Liaoning province and terminates at the Hushan Great Wall, in the city of Dandong near the North Korean border.

In 2009, 180 km of previously unknown sections of the wall concealed by hills, trenches and rivers were discovered with the help of infrared range finders and GPS devices. In March and April 2015 nine sections with a total length of more than 10 km (6 mi), believed to be part of the Great Wall, were discovered along the border of Ningxia autonomous region and Gansu province.

Great Wall of China: Characteristics

The Great Wall at Mutianyu, near Beijing

Before the use of bricks, the Great Wall was mainly built from rammed earth, stones, and wood. During the Ming, however, bricks were heavily used in many areas of the wall, as were materials such as tiles, lime, and stone. The size and weight of the bricks made them easier to work with than earth and stone, so construction quickened. Additionally, bricks could bear more weight and endure better than rammed earth. Stone can hold under its own weight better than brick, but is more difficult to use. Consequently, stones cut in rectangular shapes were used for the foundation, inner and outer brims, and gateways of the wall. Battlements line the uppermost portion of the vast majority of the wall, with defensive gaps a little over 30 cm (12 in) tall, and about 23 cm (9.1 in) wide. From the parapets, guards could survey the surrounding land. Communication between the army units along the length of the Great Wall, including the ability to call reinforcements and warn garrisons of enemy movements, was of high importance. Signal towers were built upon hill tops or other high points along the wall for their visibility. Wooden gates could be used as a trap against those going through. Barracks, stables, and armories were built near the wall's inner surface.

Great Wall of China: Condition

A more rural portion of the Great Wall that stretches throughout the mountains, here seen in slight disrepair
A view of the Great Wall ranging across a mountain, from another part of the Great Wall, near Beijing.

While portions north of Beijing and near tourist centers have been preserved and even extensively renovated, in many other locations the Wall is in disrepair. Those parts might serve as a village playground or a source of stones to rebuild houses and roads. Sections of the Wall are also prone to graffiti and vandalism, while inscribed bricks were pilfered and sold on the market for up to 50 renminbi. Parts have been destroyed because the Wall is in the way of construction. A 2012 report by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage states that 22% of the Ming Great Wall has disappeared, while 1,961 km (1,219 mi) of wall have vanished. More than 60 km (37 mi) of the wall in Gansu province may disappear in the next 20 years, due to erosion from sandstorms. In some places, the height of the wall has been reduced from more than 5 m (16 ft 5 in) to less than 2 m (6 ft 7 in). Various square lookout towers that characterize the most famous images of the wall have disappeared. Many western sections of the wall are constructed from mud, rather than brick and stone, and thus are more susceptible to erosion. In 2014 a portion of the wall near the border of Liaoning and Hebei province was repaired with concrete. The work has been much criticized.

Great Wall of China: Visibility from space

Great Wall of China: From the Moon

One of the earliest known references to the myth that the Great Wall can be seen from the moon appears in a letter written in 1754 by the English antiquary William Stukeley. Stukeley wrote that, "This mighty wall of four score miles [130 km] in length is only exceeded by the Chinese Wall, which makes a considerable figure upon the terrestrial globe, and may be discerned at the Moon." The claim was also mentioned by Henry Norman in 1895 where he states "besides its age it enjoys the reputation of being the only work of human hands on the globe visible from the Moon." The issue of "canals" on Mars was prominent in the late 19th century and may have led to the belief that long, thin objects were visible from space. The claim that the Great Wall is visible from the moon also appears in 1932's Ripley's Believe It or Not! strip and in Richard Halliburton's 1938 book Second Book of Marvels.

The claim the Great Wall is visible from the moon has been debunked many times, but is still ingrained in popular culture. The wall is a maximum 9.1 m (29 ft 10 in) wide, and is about the same color as the soil surrounding it. Based on the optics of resolving power (distance versus the width of the iris: a few millimeters for the human eye, meters for large telescopes) only an object of reasonable contrast to its surroundings which is 110 km (70 mi) or more in diameter (1 arc-minute) would be visible to the unaided eye from the Moon, whose average distance from Earth is 384,393 km (238,851 mi). The apparent width of the Great Wall from the Moon is the same as that of a human hair viewed from 3 km (2 mi) away. To see the wall from the Moon would require spatial resolution 17,000 times better than normal (20/20) vision. Unsurprisingly, no lunar astronaut has ever claimed to have seen the Great Wall from the Moon.

Great Wall of China: From low Earth orbit

A satellite image of a section of the Great Wall in northern Shanxi, running diagonally from lower left to upper right and not to be confused with the more prominent river running from upper left to lower right. The region pictured is 12 km × 12 km (7 mi × 7 mi).

A more controversial question is whether the Wall is visible from low Earth orbit (an altitude of as little as 160 km (100 mi)). NASA claims that it is barely visible, and only under nearly perfect conditions; it is no more conspicuous than many other man-made objects. Other authors have argued that due to limitations of the optics of the eye and the spacing of photoreceptors on the retina, it is impossible to see the wall with the naked eye, even from low orbit, and would require visual acuity of 20/3 (7.7 times better than normal).

Astronaut William Pogue thought he had seen it from Skylab but discovered he was actually looking at the Grand Canal of China near Beijing. He spotted the Great Wall with binoculars, but said that "it wasn't visible to the unaided eye." U.S. Senator Jake Garn claimed to be able to see the Great Wall with the naked eye from a space shuttle orbit in the early 1980s, but his claim has been disputed by several U.S. astronauts. Veteran U.S. astronaut Gene Cernan has stated: "At Earth orbit of 100 to 200 miles [160 to 320 km] high, the Great Wall of China is, indeed, visible to the naked eye." Ed Lu, Expedition 7 Science Officer aboard the International Space Station, adds that, "it's less visible than a lot of other objects. And you have to know where to look."

In 2001, Neil Armstrong stated about the view from Apollo 11: "I do not believe that, at least with my eyes, there would be any man-made object that I could see. I have not yet found somebody who has told me they've seen the Wall of China from Earth orbit. ... I've asked various people, particularly Shuttle guys, that have been many orbits around China in the daytime, and the ones I've talked to didn't see it."

In October 2003, Chinese astronaut Yang Liwei stated that he had not been able to see the Great Wall of China. In response, the European Space Agency (ESA) issued a press release reporting that from an orbit between 160 and 320 km (100 and 200 mi), the Great Wall is visible to the naked eye, even though the ISS is in low Earth orbit, not space. In an attempt to further clarify things, the ESA published a picture of a part of the "Great Wall" photographed from low orbit. However, in a press release a week later, they acknowledged that the "Great Wall" in the picture was actually a river.

Leroy Chiao, a Chinese-American astronaut, took a photograph from the International Space Station that shows the wall. It was so indistinct that the photographer was not certain he had actually captured it. Based on the photograph, the China Daily later reported that the Great Wall can be seen from 'space' with the naked eye, under favorable viewing conditions, if one knows exactly where to look. However, the resolution of a camera can be much higher than the human visual system, and the optics much better, rendering photographic evidence irrelevant to the issue of whether it is visible to the naked eye.

Great Wall of China: See also

  • Defense of the Great Wall
  • Gates of Alexander
  • Great Wall Marathon
  • Great Wall of China hoax
  • Great Wall of Qi
  • Huangya Pass
  • Jiankou
  • List of World Heritage Sites in China

Great Wall of China: Notes

  1. "China's Great Wall Found To Measure More Than 20,000 Kilometers". Bloomberg. June 5, 2012. Retrieved June 6, 2012.
  2. http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/438.
  3. ISBN 978-0-312-64302-7. Beginning as separate sections of fortification around the 7th century B.C.E and unified during the Qin Dynasty in the 3rd century B.C.E, this wall, built of earth and rubble with a facing of brick or stone, runs from east to west across China for over 4,000 miles.
  4. "Great Wall of China". Encyclopædia Britannica. Large parts of the fortification system date from the 7th through the 4th century BC. In the 3rd century BC Shihuangdi (Qin Shi Huang), the first emperor of a united China (under the Qin dynasty), connected a number of existing defensive walls into a single system. Traditionally, the eastern terminus of the wall was considered to be Shanhai Pass (Shanhaiguan) in eastern Hebei province along the coast of the Bo Hai (Gulf of Chihli), and the wall's length-without its branches and other secondary sections-was thought to extend for some 6,690 km (4,160 mi).
  5. "Great Wall of China 'even longer'". BBC. April 20, 2009. Retrieved April 20, 2009.
  6. "Great Wall of China even longer than previously thought". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. June 6, 2012. Retrieved June 6, 2012.
  7. , p. 650.
  8. Baxter, William H. & al. (20 September 2014). "Baxter–Sagart Old Chinese Reconstruction, Version 1.1" (PDF). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  9. See Lovell 2006, p. 25
  10. , p. 202. Tan Daoji's exact quote: "So you would destroy your Great Wall of Ten Thousand Li!" (乃復壞汝萬里之長城) Note the use of the particle 之 zhi that differentiates the quote from the modern name.
  11. Byron R. Winborn (1994). Wen Bon: a Naval Air Intelligence Officer behind Japanese lines in China. University of North Texas Press. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-929398-77-8.
  12. "The Weights and Measures Act (1929)". The Legislative Yuan of the Republic of China. Archived from the original on 2014-04-25.
  13. Lindesay, William (2007). The Great Wall Revisited: From the Jade Gate to Old Dragon's Head. Beijing: Wuzhou Publishing. p. 21. ISBN 7-5085-1032-1.
  14. , p. 651.
  15. , p. 15.
  16. , p. 49.
  17. , p. 21.
  18. , p. 69.
  19. , p. 59.
  20. 歷代王朝修長城 (in Chinese). Chiculture.net. Retrieved October 24, 2010.
  21. 古代长城 – 战争与和平的纽带 (in Chinese). Newsmth.net. Retrieved October 24, 2010.
  22. 万里长城 (in Chinese). Newsmth.net. Retrieved October 24, 2010.
  23. , p. 35.
  24. , p. 3.
  25. "Defense and Cost of The Great Wall – page 3". Paul and Bernice Noll's Window on the World. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
  26. Coonan, Clifford (February 27, 2012). "British researcher discovers piece of Great Wall 'marooned outside China'". The Irish Times. Retrieved February 28, 2012.
  27. , p. 653.
  28. , p. 654; , pp. 52–54.
  29. , p. 192.
  30. , p. 220.
  31. , p. 177.
  32. "Great Wall at Mutianyu". Great Wall of China.
  33. , pp. 38–40.
  34. , p. 254.
  35. , pp. 1–2.
  36. "Part of the Great Wall of China". The Wesleyan Juvenile Offering: A Miscellany of Missionary Information for Young Persons. Wesleyan Missionary Society. X: 41. April 1853. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  37. Ruysbroek, Willem van (1900) [1255]. The Journey of William of Rubruck to the Eastern Parts of the World, 1253–55, as Narrated by Himself, with Two Accounts of the Earlier Journey of John of Pian de Carpine. Translated from the Latin by William Woodville Rockhill. London: The Hakluyt Society.
  38. , pp. 53–54.
  39. , pp. 54–55.
  40. Qur'an, XVIII: "The Cave". English translations hosted at Wikisource include Maulana Muhammad Ali's, E.H. Palmer's, and the Progressive Muslims Organization's.
  41. , pp. 53–55.
  42. Barros, João de (1777) [1563]. Ásia de João de Barros: Dos feitos que os portugueses fizeram no descobrimento dos mares e terras do Oriente. V. Lisbon. 3a Década, pp. 186–204 (originally Vol. II, Ch. vii).
  43. , pp. 204–05.
  44. , p. 579This section is the report of Góis's travel, as reported by Matteo Ricci in De Christiana expeditione apud Sinas (published 1615), annotated by Henry Yule).
  45. , pp. 2–4.
  46. , p. 206.
  47. , p. 209.
  48. , p. 214.
  49. , p. 60.
  50. , p. 140.
  51. , p. 212.
  52. "Jiaoshan Great Wall". TravelChinaGuide.com. Retrieved September 15, 2010. Jiaoshan Great Wall is located about 3 km (2 mi) from Shanhaiguan ancient city. It is named after Jiaoshan Mountain, which is the highest peak to the north of Shanhai Pass and also the first mountain the Great Wall climbs up after Shanhai Pass. Therefore Jiaoshan Mountain is noted as "The first mountain of the Great Wall".
  53. "The Great Wall: Liaoning Province". Global Times. October 14, 2014. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  54. "Great Wall of China longer than believed as 180 missing miles found". The Guardian. 20 April 2009. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  55. "Newly-discovered remains redraw path of Great Wall". China Daily. 15 April 2015. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  56. , p. 29.
  57. Ford, Peter (November 30, 2006). New law to keep China's Wall looking great. Christian Science Monitor, Asia Pacific section. Retrieved March 17, 2007.
  58. Wong, Edward (29 June 2015). "China Fears Loss of Great Wall, Brick by Brick". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  59. Bruce G. Doar: The Great Wall of China: Tangible, Intangible and Destructible. China Heritage Newsletter, China Heritage Project, Australian National University
  60. "China's Wall becoming less and less Great". Reuters. August 29, 2007. Retrieved August 30, 2007.
  61. CNN, Ben Westcott and Serenitie Wang. "China's Great Wall covered in cement".
  62. The Family Memoirs of the Rev. William Stukeley (1887) Vol. 3, p. 142. (1754).
  63. Norman, Henry, The Peoples and Politics of the Far East, p. 215. (1895).
  64. "The Great Wall of China, Ripley's Believe It or Not, 1932.
  65. Urban Legends.com website. Accessed May 12, 2010.
    "Can you see the Great Wall of China from the moon or outer space?", Answers.com. Accessed May 12, 2010.
    Cecil Adams, "Is the Great wall of China the only manmade object byou can see from space?", The Straight Dope. Accessed May 12, 2010.
    Snopes, "Great wall from space", last updated July 21, 2007. Accessed May 12, 2010.
    "Is China's Great Wall Visible from Space?", Scientific American, February 21, 2008. "... the wall is only visible from low orbit under a specific set of weather and lighting conditions. And many other structures that are less spectacular from an earthly vantage point-desert roads, for example-appear more prominent from an orbital perspective."
  66. "Metro Tescos", The Times (London), April 26, 2010. Found at The Times website. Accessed May 12, 2010.
  67. , pp. 3–4.
  68. "NASA – Great Wall of China". Nasa.gov. Retrieved July 31, 2010.
  69. Dr. Stephen E. Ambrose; Dr. Douglas Brinkley (September 19, 2001). "Johnson Space Center Oral History Project Oral History Transcript – Neil Armstrong" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved July 31, 2010.
  70. Markus, Francis. (2005, April 19). Great Wall visible in space photo. BBC News, Asia-Pacific section. Retrieved March 17, 2007.

Great Wall of China: References

  • Edmonds, Richard Louis (1985). Northern Frontiers of Qing China and Tokugawa Japan: A Comparative Study of Frontier Policy. University of Chicago, Department of Geography; Research Paper No. 213. ISBN 0-89065-118-3.
  • Elliott, Mark C. (2001). The Manchu Way: The Eight Banners and Ethnic Identity in Late Imperial China. Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0-8047-4684-7.
  • Evans, Thammy (2006). Great Wall of China: Beijing & Northern China. Bradt Travel Guide. Bradt Travel Guides. p. 3. ISBN 1-84162-158-7.
  • Haw, Stephen G. (2006). Marco Polo's China: a Venetian in the realm of Khubilai Khan. Volume 3 of Routledge studies in the early history of Asia. Psychology Press. ISBN 0-415-34850-1.
  • Hessler, Peter (2007). "Letter from China: Walking the Wall". The New Yorker (May 21, 2007): 58–67.
  • Karnow, Mooney, Paul and Catherine (2008). National Geographic Traveler: Beijing. National Geographic Books. p. 192. ISBN 1-4262-0231-8.
  • Lindesay, William (2008). The Great Wall Revisited: From the Jade Gate to Old Dragon's Head. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-03149-4.
  • López-Gil, Norberto (2008). "Is it Really Possible to See the Great Wall of China from Space with a Naked Eye?" (PDF). Journal of Optometry. 1 (1): 3–4. doi:10.3921/joptom.2008.3. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-09-10.
  • ISBN 978-0-330-42241-3.
  • Rojas, Carlos (2010). The Great Wall : a cultural history. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-04787-7.
  • Slavicek, Louise Chipley; Mitchell, George J.; Matray, James I. (2005). The Great Wall of China. Infobase Publishing. p. 35. ISBN 0-7910-8019-6.
  • Szabó, József; Dávid, Lóránt; Loczy, Denes, eds. (2010). Anthropogenic Geomorphology: A Guide to Man-made Landforms. ISBN 978-90-481-3057-3.
  • ISBN 978-1-84603-004-8.
  • Waldron, Arthur (1983). "The Problem of The Great Wall of China". Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies. Harvard-Yenching Institute. 43 (2): 643–63. JSTOR 2719110.
  • Waldron, Arthur (1988). "The Great Wall Myth: Its Origins and Role in Modern China". The Yale Journal of Criticism. Johns Hopkins University Press. 2 (1): 67–104.
  • ISBN 978-0-521-42707-4.
  • Yule, Sir Henry, ed. (1866). Cathay and the way thither: being a collection of medieval notices of China. Issues 36–37 of Works issued by the Hakluyt Society. Printed for the Hakluyt society.

Great Wall of China: Further reading

  • International Friends of the Great Wall – organization focused on conservation
  • UNESCO World Heritage Centre profile
  • Enthusiast/scholar website (in Chinese)
  • Great Wall of China on In Our Time at the BBC.
  • Photoset of lesser visited areas of the Great Wall
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