Continuous as the stars that shine And twinkle on the milky way, They stretched in never-ending line Along the margin of a bay: Ten thousand saw I at a glance, Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they Out-did the sparkling waves in glee: A poet could not but be gay, In such a jocund company: I gazed—and gazed—but little thought What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie In vacant or in pensive mood, They flash upon that inward eye Which is the bliss of solitude; And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils.
- William Wordsworth
Ah, the Great Wall of China, the only manmade structure visible from space. Except, wait, it’s not visible space. Huh. Oh well, what are the odds that one wall would actually be visible from space? What do you mean that it’s not only one wall but a system of many walls built over two thousand years? So what do we know of the Great Wall of China? Well, here are a few of our favorite Wall of China facts.
As many as 400,000 people passed away during the construction of the wall.
Even crazier is that most of them were probably buried inside the wall itself in some weird variant of Egyptian tomb burials. That’s amazing, but also completely understandable given just how large the scope of the construction was. The labor force that built the wall was made of largely soldiers and convicts. We can only imagine just how many they were.
There’s more than one wall.
Basically, the wall isn’t one wall at all. It’s a bunch of walls. Plural. Also, most of the walls don’t even look like the part where tourists go. They’re much less glorious. Refined sections merge seamlessly into deteriorating ruins covered in moss and wild plants, and the more unkempt walls are intermittently punctuated with reservoirs, roads, and forests. Some parts of the wall even have older versions of the wall underneath them.
It wasn’t built to stop the Mongols!
Ok, we didn’t even know about this one before researching for this article. The wall was commissioned by the First Emperor, long before the Mongols came around at 800AD. The civilization threatening “China” were the Xiongnu, who may or may not have been the Huns’ ancestors. The whole idea of the wall being built to repel the mongols came about due to the their clash in the 14th century, when the Chinese Ming dynasty chased away the Mongols out of their homeland.