1. It was not built in one go. Originally the ‘Great Wall’ was several walls - the first being built in 221-207 BC during the Qin Dynasty. It only became ‘one wall’ when China was unified under Emperor Qin Shi Huang – a task that took 10 years to complete. Today, many parts of the original wall have disintegrated and been re-built by the tourism board.
2. It cannot be seen from the moon. Despite popular myths insisting that it can be seen by the naked eye from space, it is actually impossible without a specialist telescope – and even then it’s doubtable.
3. It is the longest cemetery on earth, but there are no dead bodies. Some people believe that the bones from human men are built into the wall – but actually no bones have ever been found. Most likely, the binding mortar was just made from rice flour. Instead, the wall developed it’s ‘graveyard’ nickname because of the sheer amount of peasants that died when building it.
4. China hasn’t always loved the wall. During the Cultural Revolution, the wall was viewed as a sign of despotism because it had been created by the wealthy and powerful. During 1666 to 1978 people were even encouraged to use its bricks in their farms and homes.
5. It might not be around forever. Despite a tremendous history, the Great Wall of China might not be around forever. Some parts of the wall are suffering from erosion – the wall in the Gansu province may even disappear in the next 20 years. The structure is also suffering from people taking stones and earth for use in construction and on farms. Two organisations – Friends of the Great Wall, and Great Wall Culture – are dedicated to helping to preserve the monument.