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Exploring the Secret of The Great Wall of China - Part 2

Exploring the Secret of The Great Wall of China - Part 2

The Great Wall of China was an important function of border control for the ruling dynasties and helped manage the outflow of traders through the Silk Route. It also helped regulate the forces of the Chinese dynasties and create a  stronghold in the region. As time passed, the Wall was reinforced with watch towers, troop barracks, garrison stations as well as signaling capabilities, most of which are depicted in ‘The Great Wall’ featruring Matt Damon. Continuing our quest to uncover the hidden secrets of the Wall, here are a few more. Take a look.

The Wall Contains a Special Ingredient

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One of the hidden secrets of the Great Wall of China is the surprising ingredient that historians found in its structure. While most of the wall was prepared with earth and stone, archaeologists also found traces of glutinous rice (colloquially known as ‘Sticky Rice’) in the walls. The glutinous rice was incorporated into the mortar recipe because of its long-lasting bonding properties. Historians conclude by saying that amylopectin from the sticky rice, which imparts strength and durability to the fortification. No wonder, the Wall structure has withstood the test of time for more than two millennia.

Chinese Convicts were Employed to Build wall as Punishment

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Community service in China developed much earlier than other countries. During the construction of the Great Wall, several convicts were employed by the Qin Dynasty to distinguish between outlaw laborers and civilian colleagues. Often their heads were shaved, faces blackened and limbs were tied in chains. Crimes ranging from petty thievery to homicide to tax evasion - all were punishable by possible duties on the walls. Therefore, a significant number of laborers perished while helping with construction due to extreme weather or collusion or degeneration of the walls.

Dead Souls were Honored with Roosters in Tow

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A large number of people died during the in the Great Wall’s construction. Therefore, the relatives and family members in constant worry that their souls would remain tied with the structure they were working for. Having said that, a mourner used to cross the wall with a rooster in tow to grant deceased laborers their spiritual emancipation. Thus, they would be able to guide the soul away from the wall.

The Wall Construction was Predicted in an Ancient Poem

Centuries before the construction actually began, an ancient poem named The Shijing predicted the full construction of the wall. Archaeologists believe that the collection of Ancient Chinese Poems was written between the 11th and 7th Centuries BCE, long before the actual construction began. That said, the poem description depicts the king’s endeavor to build such a barrier to fend off the military invaders from outside.

The Great Wall Was Actually Unable to Keep Invaders Away

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Overall, the Wall’s purpose of keeping the enemies at bay was not actually fulfilled because, throughout history, a number of armies managed to pass across the barrier successfully. Most of these enemy armies would easily find ways into the wall and compromise its integrity without much obstruction. One such invasion from the Manchuria front led to the fall of the Ming Dynasty in the 17th Century.

China’s Fondness for The Great Wall is Relatively New

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China developed the Great Wall’s strategic importance only in the 19th Century. This celebration of the epitome seems fairly recent, given the nation’s extensive history. Today, the Great Wall attracts millions of tourists from every part of the world, thanks to China’s efforts in building actual connections to the walls by means of roads, tunnels, and airports.

Thousands Of Miles of the Great Wall have Actually disappeared

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Lack of proper maintenance, along with the lesser role of public authorities and abrupt weather conditions have led to the disappearance of various parts of the Wall at all sides. Earlier, the estimated length of the wall was approximately 20,000 km, however, recent excavations suggest that the significant portion of the Wall has disappeared and only 13, 171 km of the original structure remains. Furthermore, more than 1200 miles of the Wall has disappeared over time because of bad weather conditions and less interest from the state authorities.

 

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