Great Wall of China

Great Wall of China
  

The Great Wall of China is a Chinese fortification built between the V century before Christ and the XVI century to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire from the attacks of the Xiongnu nomads of Mongolia and Manchuria. It had more than twenty thousand miles long, although currently only is preserved about the 30%.
The construction began in the Qin Dynasty, from 221 to 206 before Christ. It is built with materials available around the construction. So near Beijing was used the limestone. Elsewhere was used granite or fired brick. It was a long wall of clay and sand covered with several brick walls, which made it very resistant to impacts of siege weapons. It has several gates and stand out the sections where is in steep slopes.
Forts were built along the wall, or directly integrated into the walls, with a system of smoke signals. The construction of this artwork passed by the Qin Dynasty, the Han Dynasty and Ming Dynasty. During the time between the Han and Ming Dynasties, it did not experience major changes.


In the VIII century before Christ, the territory was divided into hundreds of fiefdoms run by princes or states, in theory all gathered under the Zhou Dynasty Kings. But over time, these fiefdoms were annexed by the princes forming large principalities in the VI century before Christ; some were Chu and Wu. China was rapidly fragmented into several independent kingdoms: the beginning of the period of the Warring States. By then, several states are committed to building walls to protect themselves from their neighbors and foreign peoples. Thus, about V century before Christ, the state of Qi began building a wall. In the mid-IV century before Christ., the state of Wei began building a wall on its western border. It was followed by the states of Yan and Zhao.
In 221 before Christ, Qin Shi Huang conquered all states who opposed him and unified China establishing the Qin Dynasty. With the intention to impose a central rule and prevent the resurgence of feudal lords, ordered the destruction of the walls that divided his empire along the former border.


In 210 before Christ, the Emperor Qin Shi Huang died and the Qin Dynasty who founded survived a few years. In 202 before Christ, the Emperor Liu Bang proclaimed emperior with the name of Han Gaozu. Weakened by their previous war of succession against General Xiang Yu, Gaozu leaves the maintenance of the Wall of the Qin era, and seek peace. However, the Great Wall is not completely abandoned: under the rule of the Emperor Han Wudi it is recommended the establishment of tuntian borders (types of agricultural military settlements) protected by low walls to colonize the region and prevent the Xiongnu raids.
In 134 before Christ the status quo between the Chinese and Xiongnu was broken and unlike their ancestors, Han Wudi decided to take the offensive against the Xiongnu confederation and started in 129 before Christ a first offense, followed by many others. Wudi connected and restored portions of the Wall of the Qin Dynasty. At the end of the Han Dynasty, China was divided into three kingdoms separated by borders.
The Great Wall as a concept was revived again during the Ming Dynasty after the defeat of the army by the Oirats in the Battle of Tumu in 1449. The Ming had no clear victory and adopted a new strategy to keep the nomadic tribes away of the capital by constructing walls along the northern border of China. The construction of the Ming Dynasty was stronger and more elaborate due to the use of bricks and stone instead of packed dirt.
  
  
Towards the end of the Ming Dynasty, the Great Wall defended the empire against the Manchu invasion that began around 1600. The Manchus were finally able to cross the Great Wall in 1644, when the doors were opened in Shanhaiguan by Wu Sangui, a general. The Manchus quickly occupied Beijing and defeated the newly founded Shun Dynasty and the rest of the resistance, to establish the Qing Dynasty. With the Qing as rulers, Mongolia was annexed to the empire, so that the construction of the Great Wall and the reparations of it were interrupted because were no longer necessary.


Chinese architecture is characterized by distributing the space into rectangular units that come together to form a whole all. Chinese style combines rectangles of different sizes in different positions according to the importance of the organization of the whole all. They use Feng shui, a Chinese system of aesthetics ancient Taoists used to help to improve life.
In traditional Chinese architecture, the distribution of the units is ruled by the principles of balance and symmetry. The secondary structures are located on both sides of the axis of symmetry forming the central courtyard and the main rooms. The distribution of outer space reflects Chinese social and ethical values.
China is the main cultural center of East Asia, centered in the basins of the Hoang-ho and Yang-tse-kiang rivers.
Chinese art has been more uniform than the Western evolution. Chinese equally valued calligraphy, ceramics, silk and porcelain with architecture, painting and sculpture.


            In conclusion, the Great Wall of China is an impressive artwork carried out in so many years that has almost been built throughout the life of the Chinese Empire. An impressive artwork, and that has not remained entire... the Wall completed would be even more spectacular.
            The provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions through which The Wall passes are Gansu, Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jilin, Liaoning, Mongolia Interior, Ningxia, Pekín, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Sichuan, Tianjin y Xinjiang. All in China.

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