The wall's purpose was to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire from Xiongnu attacks during the rule of successive dynasties.
The wall stretches from Shanhaiguan in the east to Lop Nur in the west over approximately 6,400 km (4,000 miles), although a more recent archaeological survey shows that the entire Great Wall with all of its branches, stretches for 8,851.8 km (5,500.3 mi) from east to west of China . One of the most famous is the wall built between 220–206 BC by the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, but only little of it remains. The current wall is much further south and was built during the Ming Dinasty. In fact, it began as independent walls for different states when it was built, and only during the Qin Dynasty the separate walls were united, turning into The Great and becoming The Wall. It is estimated that somewhere between 2 and 3 million Chinese died as part of the centuries-long project of building the wall, as the Ming Wall as guarded by more than a million men.
Although some portions north of Beijing and near tourist centers have been preserved and even reconstructed, the Wall is falling apart in others. These portions have become a source of stones to rebuild houses and roads, or even playgrounds for the local communities' children. Parts of the wall are subject of vandalism and victim of graffiti unsightly damage. Due to erosion from sandstorms, over 6- kilometers of the wall in Gansu province may disappear over the next 20 years. In other places, the wall shirked from over five meters in height to less than two. Some portions of the wall are made from mud instead of brick and stone, therefore they are more exposed to erosion.
Although in poplar culture it is widely known that the Great Wall is the only work of man visible from the moon, no lunar astronaut has ever claimed seeing it from the moon. The distance and volume are comparable to viewing a human hair from 2 miles away.
With over 2000 years of history, Th Great Wall of China is still one of the most appealing architectural attractions in the world.
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