As one of the most recognizable structures in the world, it’s no wonder that the Great Wall of China has been the subject of much speculation and misinformation throughout history. Even today, there are many misconceptions about the wall’s size, purpose, and construction. Here are some of the most common myths about the Great Wall of China, and the truth behind them.
The Great Wall of China is the world’s largest man-made structure.
This is a common misconception, likely because of the wall’s impressive size. However, the Great Wall of China is not actually the longest man-made structure in the world. That honor goes to the Grand Canal of China, which is 1,794 miles (2,889 kilometers) long. The Great Wall of China is around 1,500 miles (2,414 kilometers) long.
The Great Wall of China is visible from space.
This myth likely originated during the Cold War, when American astronauts claimed to have seen the wall from orbit. However, this is impossible. While the wall is certainly large, it’s not visible from low Earth orbit. Astronauts on the International Space Station have reported being able to see the wall, but it’s only visible on clear days and with the naked eye—it can’t be seen with the naked eye from lower orbit.
The Great Wall of China was built to keep out invading armies.
This is one of the most common misconceptions about the Great Wall of China. While it’s true that the wall was built to keep out invading armies, it was also built to keep out nomadic tribes from the north. These tribes were a constant threat to the Chinese empire, and the wall was built in an attempt to keep them out.
The Great Wall of China was built by slaves.
This is another common misconception about the Great Wall of China. While it’s true that slaves were used to build the wall, they were not the only ones. In fact, most of the people who built the wall were soldiers, prisoners, and peasants.
The Great Wall of China is one continuous wall.
This is not true. The Great Wall of China is actually made up of several walls, all built at different times. The first wall was built over 2,000 years ago, and the most recent wall was built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
The Great Wall of China is the only man-made structure visible from space.
This is not true. There are several man-made structures visible from space, including the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Panama Canal.
The Great Wall of China is the world’s largest cemetery.
This is another common misconception. While it’s true that there are many graves along the Great Wall of China, it is not the largest cemetery in the world. That honor goes to the Taj Mahal, which is a mausoleum in India.