The Great Wall of China is one of the greatest engineering wonders on the planet. Every year millions of tourists visit this system of defensive lines – often called the Stone Dragon – that stretches from the mountains to the sea.
The original fortress idea can be traced back to the third century B.C. But there are lots of walls in northern China, built by different dynasties for more than 2,000 years. And the construction was a massive undertaking – experts believe that as many as 400,000 people died during the wall’s assembly, some buried within the structure itself.
Some say the Great Wall of China is more than 4,000 miles in length. It’s a military masterpiece that has witnessed hundreds of battles; A ribbon of stone that can be seen from space.
Yet it still holds many mysteries.There are different faces to the Great Wall of China, some more rare than others. Many parts of the Wall are rarely visited, and segments are still being discovered. One wall is made of wood, layered with branches and gravel. Other walls reveal stone tablets engraved with ancient texts, military towers, stone bombs and bits of pottery.
But why was the Great Wall built at all? How did it serve as both a physical and psychological barrier? And how long is it, really?
British writer and historian William Lindesay has walked thousands of miles along the wall. His life’s obsession has been unlocking the monumental structure’s mysteries.
Follow Lindesay as he walks along the Great Wall, chats with peasants and herders along the way, listens to the songs of their ancestors, follows the Silk Road, and meets with Chinese scholars…
VIDEO PREVIEW: Many parts of the Great Wall of China are seldom visited and virtually unknown: