THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA 5
The Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China
The Great Wall’s Influence on the Chinese Culture
The Great Wall of China is considered to be the longest structure toever been built by human kind. It is estimated to be 5,500 miles inlength (O`Neill, 2009). However the process of calculating itslength has been a bit challenging, since the structure has undergonesome changes over time, since its construction. The wall is marvelousin its own sense. The construction of this wall started after the QinDynasty emperor’s order in the 221 when the Chinese states wereunified (Shea, 2014).
However, it should be noted that the northern states of China hadalready started constructing their own walls, but the emperor laterorder them to be merged. This process had taken centuries for thesestates. According to statistics, it took around two millennia for theconstruction of this wall to be finished. This means that there wereseveral dynasties which were involved in the construction, where thelast dynasty, Ming Dynasty, built most parts of the wall that areseen today in 1500s (Shea, 2014). It consists of fortifications ofstones and bricks arranged in series, stretching from Lop Nur toShanhaiguan of West and East of China respectively. The width of thewall ranges from around 15 feet to 30 feet in some sections (Shea,2014).
Cultural Significance of the Great Wall.
The Great Wall of China has been attracting numerous tourists fromall over the world who come to witness this world’s marvel. Thewall stands to symbolize the Chinese history of dynasties that tookplace thousands of years ago. This is besides the role that the wallplayed in the protection of the northern border of China frominvasions. It therefore connects the Chinese traditions to the restof the world. It was significantly used as a defense mechanism insecuring the Chinese dynasties during the ancient wars more than 2000years ago (Shea, 2014). It therefore brings the reality of thoseearly times to the present generations, not only in China, but alsoto the rest of the world. This has made numerous people includinghistorical scholars to develop interest in visiting China.
In addition, it is considered as one of the Seven Wonders of theWorld in medieval times. In the list also includes the Leaning Towerand Colosseum of Pisa and Rome respectively. In 1987, it was alsoconsidered by United Nations as a World Heritage Site (DuTemple,2008). This has made Chinese people to develop a saying that onecannot be said to be a real man if he has not climbed the Great Wall.It has thus put China in the world map, especially after beingrecognized by the world as a unique structure of its own class.
The wall remains to be one of the iconic cultural structures inChina. It represents the traditions of the Chinese peoples. Itsymbolizes the unity of the people of China, besides acting as a signof a hard working nation. This is because the construction of theGreat Wall involved the transportation of materials from a longdistance (Shea, 2014). It included millions of Chinese suchcommoners, soldiers and even criminals. All these groups of peoplewere united to defend their nation against any invasion. In addition,there is a clear indication of the ancient means of communicationwhich were used. This can be observed from the towers which acted aspoints where fire and smoke could be seen to deliver a message to thepeople in early days. This was considered as the best communicationmeans for many years.
The Great Wall has also played a critical role in improving thecultural tourism of China (Shea, 2014). In this sense many peoplehave come to also understand other world’s cultures since there isa mixture of people from all walks of life. The structure attractstourists in almost all seasons. However, in winter, it registersfewest tourists (Shea, 2014). This is because the views around thewall usually differ depending on the seasons. For example duringsummer and spring seasons, there are a lot of plants and flowers butduring fall, one can observe the changing color of leaves. At thesame time some visitors are kept off by cold temperatures in winterwhile others enjoy the emergence of snow and ice.
However one of the social economic issues that pose a challenge inChina currently is the diminishing number of young people enteringthe workforce. This has been attributed to the China’s one-childpolicy. In this respect, the number of elderly people in populationhas continued to rise with time. According to the United Nations,between the year 2010 to 2030, China could lose 67% of its workforceif there are no changes to be made. However, the government hasnoticed this concern and it intends to ease this policy in its socialand economic reforms. These reforms were introduced in the blue printspearheaded by the Communist Party. The changes have been welcomed bymany Chinese who have been unhappy on the restrictions put by thegovernment on the size of family one should have. It has also beencontributed by the need to replace the aging society especially inlabor sector.
DuTemple, L. A. (2008). The Great Wall of China. Minneapolis:Lerner Publications.
O`Neill, J. R. (2009). The Great Wall of China. Edina, Minn:ABDO Pub.
Shea, T. (2014). 20 fun facts about the Great Wall of China.New York: Gareth Steven