Do you know how long is the Great Wall of China? You might be surprised to learn that it is 13,170 miles long. It's not a single wall, but actually a series of multiple walls, trenches, towers, and fortifications that spread along the northern portion of China. The Great Wall of China is made up of a combination of materials, such as stones, bricks, wood, chalk, lime, and gravel. It was constructed to protect China from foreign invaders. Apart from protecting the country during different wars, the wall also plays a role in controlling immigration and emigration. Over the time, the gigantic length of the wall has also earned it various informal names. In many poems and literary works, the Great Wall of China has been called 'The Earth Dragon.'
The Lengths of the Great Wall of China
Officially, the length of the Great Wall of China is 13,170 miles. The average height of the wall is around 20 to 23 feet. Before June 2012, there was no official information about the exact length of the wall. It took about five years for the State Administration of Cultural Heritage to conduct a survey and find out the accurate distance of the Great Wall of China. The Great Wall of China length includes the fragments of the wall. That means those portions of the wall that follows on the mountains and rivers have also been incorporated while measuring the total length of the wall.
The Provinces Covered by the Great Wall of China
The wall segments cover the northern provinces of China and spread a long way, connecting the east part to the west side of China. These provinces are Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang, Shandong, Henan, Shaanxi, Gansu, and Qinghai.
The Remarkable Lengths by Chinese Dynasties
The Great Wall of China is a 2700-year-old construction. It was not the work of one dynasty. Instead, many Chinese dynasties have played an irreplaceable role in defining how long is the Great Wall of China!
- The Qin Dynasty
The beginning of the wall construction occurred a long time ago, somewhere around 300-200 BC. However, the first major contribution of around 3,100 miles was in the Qin dynasty from 221 – 207 BC. It was done under the rule of Qin Shi Huang.
During the Qin dynasty, the Great Wall acquired a popular name, 'Wanli Changcheng.' In simple words, 'Wan' means 10,000, and 'li' means half a kilometer. So, 'Wanli Changcheng' represents the 5000 km (3,100 miles) of the Great Wall length constructed during the Qin Dynasty.
- The Han Dynasty
When the Qin dynasty lost its power, it led to the downfall of the Great Wall. After the Han dynasty took over in 202 BC – 220 AD, their work mostly included the renovation of the damaged wall and increasing the total length to 3,728 miles.
- The Northern Wei Dynasty
Basically, the collection of border tribes, the Northern Wei dynasty, 386 - 534 AD, took responsibility for the reconstruction of the wall for protection from enemies. They extended the Great Wall of China length by another 932 miles.
- The Sui Dynasty
During the 550 – 618 AD period, the Sui dynasty continued the work. Their contribution led to the formation of another 932 miles long section of the wall.
- The Jin Dynasty
In 1115 – 1234 AD, a total of around 1,200 miles of the wall segment was built along with restoration work of the old and damaged extensions of the Great Wall.
- The Ming Dynasty
The last and the biggest contribution to improving the length of the Great Wall of China was from the Ming Dynasty. It stayed in power from 1368 – 1644 AD and constructed as much as 5,500 miles to the Great Wall of China.
New Findings of the Great Wall of China
Due to the wear-and-tear and other damages, almost one-third of the Great Wall has disappeared over time. However, the correct answer to how long is the Great Wall of China is yet to be answered. The biggest reason is that new sections of the wall are being discovered in various parts of China, which leads to the increasing length of the wall.
The Great Wall of China is officially 13,170 miles long. It has been repaired and constructed by various dynasties. Instead of being a single structure, it is a collection of various wall segments. New discoveries are amounting to the increased extensions of the wall.