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Great Wall Of China: As Many Facts As Myths

By Author: smith victor
Total Articles: 238

American astronaut William Pogue, pilot of the 1973-1974 Skylab space station, claimed that he had actually seen the Great Wall of China from above the Earth. It turned out he was wrong. He was only looking at the Grand Canal of China, although he did manage to see the Wall using binoculars.

That’s just one of the myths about the Wall: whether it can be seen from the Earth’s orbit. There are many other myths adding spice to the attraction of a monumental construction project that started in the 7th Century BC and went on for thousands of years. Even though there is no agreed upon definition for what constitutes a “Great Wall,” no one has disputed that the Great Wall of China is great!

At least 5,500 miles (8,800 Kilometers) long, the wall was not built in one contiguous effort. Different parts of it were built during different times, for different reasons, and by different people.

Known to many local residents by its modern Chinese name, "Ten-Thousand-Mile Long Wall," the reference is made from a centuries-old poetry book by a front-line general and is not an actual reference to the length of the wall.

Neither is there conformity in the construction of the wall. When feudal lords started building the fortification to protect themselves from enemies, brick had not been invented. Once it was, some builders used glutinous rice flour as a key ingredient to bind the bricks together.

Today, Great Wall of China tours are one of the more attractive parts of visitors’ journey. A Beijing tour package inevitably includes a Great Wall tour and many Beijing tour operators make their bread and butter from showing off one of their country’s greatest and most historic treasures.

Nevertheless, operators of many Beijing tours would undoubtedly want to see more Westerns to come and see the wall.

While China received over 20 million foreign visitors in 2014 who spent more than one night in the country –and presumably included a Great Wall of China tour to their agenda—more than 60 percent of all foreign tourists coming to China in 2014 were from Asian countries, notably South Korea. With more than 5 million tourists, Europe counted for 20 percent of foreign tourists in China and United States sent about 3 million visitors, comprising slightly less than 12 percent of China’s total foreign tourists.

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