There is still more to know about the Great Wall’s history, the one site nobody wants to miss on their Beijing Tours. Read on for further information if you haven’t decided yet which places you want to see on your China Tours. The Great Wall is worth it!

Nearly all of the following feudal dynasties did some construction on the wall, repairing and extending it partly as a defense against invasion from the north. Southern and Northern Dynasties (420 – 589 AD) were a time of civil war and political chaos but art, culture and technology revived nonetheless. During this time some of those smaller dynasties worked on the wall but as a defence against each other and not in a joint effort. The following Sui Dynasty ended the division between the rivaling regimes. To improve the defense system the Great Wall was rebuilt and extended. On the one hand these projects were great accomplishments but on the other hand they were made at the expense of the workforce resulting once again in Chinese history in revolts and rebellions.

The following period was marked by several smaller and less important dynasties and kingdoms developing more or less independently from each other in the northern and southern parts referred to as the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. During the followong Tang Dynasty there was no need for the emperors to do construction on the wall to more than a minimal extent due to their superior power over northern nomad neighbors.

After generally serving its purpose for 1500 years the Mongolian emperor Kublai Khan took control over China in 1271 and proclaimed the Yuan Dynasty little later. With the foreign rule the northern border between the Chinese and the Mongolian territory ceased and with it also the necessity to reinforce the Great Wall. In the end famines, natural disasters as well as revolts and rebellions caused by political instability finally ended the domination of the foreign power towards the end of the 14th century. Zhu Yuanzhang, the rebel leader of the Red Turban Rebellion, became the first emperor of the following Ming Dynasty.

The Ming era in China were golden times in Chinese history marked by cultural exchange, political stability, economic prosperity and population growth. During this time enormous construction projects were in the center of attention, the Great Wall, the Grand Canal and the famous Forbidden City in Beijing being the most important ones. To prevent further invasion from the north the Great Wall was extended in a 100 year project. Many of the locations where visitors can see the wall are from these times, for example at Badaling or Mutianyu close to Beijing.

The Manchu took over control of Chinese territory in 1644 and founded the last dynasty in Chinese history, called Qing Dynasty. With this second foreign power in China the Great Wall lost once again its main purpose. Since then only the state has undertaken efforts to restore parts of it and has opened them to the public. The Great Wall is one of the most famous sights in China and a unique symbol of Chinese civilization. For this reason and with some facts about history in mind it’s worth seeing it for anyone going on China Tours.

Jack Li

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