Five things you didn’t know about the Great Wall of China

While an Italian luxury brand is currently colouring Chinese New Year celebrations on the Great Wall, here are some other little-known facts about one of the world’s most well-known walls!
Great wall of china, china, bottega veneta
Image: Shutterstock/aphotostory.

The Chinese Lunar New Year is coming up on February 1. For the occasion, Italian luxury fashion brand Bottega Veneta has made a section of the Great Wall of China extra festive, adding its signature Bottega green and tangerine (considered lucky by the Chinese) hues to ‘新春快乐’, which is ‘Happy New Year’ in Mandarin flashing on a huge digital screen!

This unique takeover went live on January 6 and will reportedly continue until February 15, as will their special sale of tangerine-coloured products in stores across China. Bottega Veneta has also pledged a donation to support the renovation and maintenance of the ‘Shanhai Pass’, the Great Wall of China’s easternmost stronghold, historically known as the ‘First Pass under Heaven’.

Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site as far back as in 1987, the Great Wall of China has been considered one of the seven wonders of the medieval as well as modern world and one for the bucket list for any travel enthusiast. Here are some fascinating facts about this monumental edifice…

  • It is the world’s longest structure made by humans. While all its sections together amass a length that’s officially more than 21,000 kms long, the wall as it exists today, is about 8,851 kms long. People estimate that if you walk 25 kms a day, you’ll still need a year to walk its length!
  • The wall that crosses 15 Chinese regions — Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Inner Mongolia, Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shandong, Henan, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Gansu, Ningxia, Qinghai, and Xinjiang — isn’t just one straight line as we usually see in pictures. Many separate walls and forts dating back to different eras have been connected to create this fortification, and in some places, there are even two or three parallel walls forming a section!
  • Of a height that varies between 20 to 46 feet and with an average width of about 21.3 feet, the Great Wall of China is certainly a formidable construction that dates back 2,700 years! They say it took more than 10,00,000 labourers to build it, many of them forced into its construction.
  • What many people don’t know, is that this solid structure that has withstood the test of time, is held together by a glutinous paste made of rice flour! Yes, talk about sticky rice having multiple uses.
  • One of the best places to see the Great Wall is at Badaling. This section of the wall, which is 70 kms northwest of Beijing, has the highest tourist footfall since it is in good condition and tourist friendly. In many other places, you’ll likely see a very different, more crumbling story!
Great wall of china, china, bottega veneta
Tourists enjoy a walk atop the well-kept portions of the wall. Image: Shutterstock/Mariadav.

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