The Great Wall of China is an iconic structure and a testament to ancient Chinese engineering and architecture. The wall is a symbol of unity and protection, and it has served as a boundary between China and its neighbors throughout history. However, there is more to the Great Wall than meets the eye. It is a treasure trove of legends and stories that have been passed down from generation to generation. In this article, we will explore the Great Wall’s treasures and legends that make it such a fascinating and enigmatic monument.
Origins and construction of the Great Wall
The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications built during several dynasties, and it is over 13,000 miles long. The wall is not a single structure but a collection of walls, fortifications, and moats. The wall was first built during the 7th century BC, during the Warring States period. However, the wall gained its iconic status during the Qin dynasty (221-206 BC) when Emperor Qin Shi Huang ordered the construction of a wall to protect China from nomadic invaders. The Qin dynasty’s project was later expanded during the Han dynasty (206 BC-220 AD), the Ming dynasty (1368-1644 AD), and other dynasties, resulting in the Great Wall we know today.
The Great Wall’s treasures
The Great Wall of China is much more than just a collection of walls. It is a cultural treasure of China, boasting architectural wonders, beautiful landscapes, and a rich history. Here are some of the Great Wall’s treasures:
The wall’s architectural and engineering feats
The Great Wall is an engineering marvel that showcases the ancient Chinese’s ingenuity. The wall spans mountains, valleys, and deserts, and it is made of different materials like brick, stone, and tamped earth. The wall’s construction is impressive. The workers used simple tools like hammers, chisels, spades, and baskets to build the wall. Moreover, each section of the wall was designed to suit the terrain it traversed, making it blend with the environment seamlessly.
The wall’s spectacular landscapes
The Great Wall’s landscapes are a treat to the eyes. The wall traverses mountains, rivers, and valleys, and its natural surroundings change with each section of the wall. Some sections of the wall are built on steep mountainsides, while others run through verdant valleys. The wall offers unparalleled views of China’s natural wonders, and it is no wonder that it is a popular tourist attraction.
Stories and legends of the Great Wall
The Great Wall is shrouded in mystery, and it has inspired numerous legends and stories over the years. Here are some of the legends that bring the Great Wall to life:
The legend of Meng Jiangnü
Meng Jiangnü is a legendary figure in Chinese folklore. According to the legend, Meng was a young maiden whose husband was conscripted to build the Great Wall. After he was gone for so long, Meng became worried and decided to go and look for him. She eventually found him dead, and she wept for three days and three nights. Her weeping was so powerful that it caused a section of the wall to crumble, revealing her husband’s body. The emperor heard about the incident and ordered that the couple be given a proper burial.
The legend of the nine dragon heads
The Great Wall was built to keep dangerous beasts away from China’s border. The most dangerous of these beasts was the dragon, a mythical creature that was believed to be able to breathe fire and destroy entire towns. According to legend, the builders of the Great Wall included nine dragon heads in the wall to ward off any dragons trying to cross the border. The nine dragon heads were strategically placed, and they worked so well that no dragon ever tried to cross the wall.
The legend of the bricks and the corpses
Building the Great Wall was a difficult and laborious task, and many people died during its construction. According to legend, the emperor ordered that the workers’ corpses be buried within the wall’s foundation. The emperor believed that the corpses would serve as a talisman and make the wall more robust and more challenging to destroy. Additionally, the emperor ordered that the bricks used to build the Great Wall be made with sticky rice and the workers’ blood. The sticky rice and blood made the bricks more durable and water-resistant.
The Great Wall of China is an architectural wonder, a cultural treasure, and a testament to ancient Chinese engineering and architecture. It has inspired awe and fascination for centuries and continues to captivate millions of tourists every year. Furthermore, the Great Wall’s legends and stories give it a sense of mystery and enigma that makes it even more intriguing. The Great Wall is indeed a gem that China should be proud of and a must-visit destination for any tourist.
TLDR: The Great Wall of China is a cultural and engineering marvel that has inspired awe and fascination for centuries. Its architectural feats and spectacular landscapes make it a true treasure. Moreover, the wall’s legends and stories reveal its mystical history, making it even more intriguing. The Great Wall is a must-visit destination for tourists seeking adventure, history, and enigma.