World Greatest Lie?: the Great Wall of China

TatarKhan

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The Great Wall of China:

Source: Wikimedia

The truth, probably not.

(1) The Great Wall isn't that old in terms of the original:
"The Wall is widely thought to date back 2,000 years to just after 221 BC, when China was first unified. In fact, almost everything which is that old is no more than a mound of earth. The popular idea of the Wall derives from the stone, battlemented structure built by the Ming (1358–1644). Its maximum age is about 500 years."
Source: Historyextra

(2) It is being reconstructed today:
Chinese State News

(3) It was being reconstructed back in the 1950s:
"Nowhere is this more noticeable than at the Great Wall. Since Richard Nixon made his pilgrimage in 1972, just about every American reaching Peking has made the 50-mile trek north to Badaling, the site chosen by the Communist government in 1956 when it ordered the first major restoration of the wall in centuries. Arriving there, like Mr. Nixon, almost everybody has been struck by the sheer volume of the masonry and the scope of the labor involved, but the spirit of the place has been disappointingly elusive.

(...) It is the first major restoration of the wall in the Peking area since Badaling in the 1950's and the largest of at least five similar projects under way along a 1,000-mile stretch of the wall from the province of Liaoning to the province of Shanxi. Together, the projects make for the biggest upgrading of the wall since it ceased being a defensive battery with the collapse of the Ming Dynasty in 1644.

(...) At Badaling, where generations of peasants have stripped the hillsides bare for firewood and building timber, disguising the route will be more difficult."
Quote: New York Times 1985

(4) comparison:

Picture from 1912-1919 (University of Bristol)


Unreconstructed parts of the wall today (Wikimedia):


So what today is reconstruction, what isn't? Which parts are completely new?
How did the Badaling parts look like before CCP reconstruction?
 

Phillness

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There is so much about this wall taken as a fact that realy isn't due to it's kind of pop culturization. As usual (and I'm sorry) don't remember where I read about it (maybe in the replies at the thread in .org, maybe delving into other rabbit holes such as Tartaria) but the thing that stuck with me was the piece about it being a defense against invasions from northern nomadic tribes (be them tartars, mongols, Turkiks...) when some of the defense structures where facing inwards as in to keep the Chinese from invading the northern parts of the land (maybe someone can chime in with some more reliable sources than my memory and present time can).
On the other hand, it was built in installments along a lot of years and maybe it served different purposes in accordance to who was in a power sit at the time.
 

JWW427

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Well it doesn't make that much military sense as far as defense, and it was enormously expensive for the minor return in security.
If it was built for some other reason such as fast communication, that would make more sense.
 

Onthebit

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The Great Wall of China:

Source: Wikimedia

The truth, probably not.

(1) The Great Wall isn't that old in terms of the original:
"The Wall is widely thought to date back 2,000 years to just after 221 BC, when China was first unified. In fact, almost everything which is that old is no more than a mound of earth. The popular idea of the Wall derives from the stone, battlemented structure built by the Ming (1358–1644). Its maximum age is about 500 years."
Source: Historyextra

(2) It is being reconstructed today:
Chinese State News

(3) It was being reconstructed back in the 1950s:
"Nowhere is this more noticeable than at the Great Wall. Since Richard Nixon made his pilgrimage in 1972, just about every American reaching Peking has made the 50-mile trek north to Badaling, the site chosen by the Communist government in 1956 when it ordered the first major restoration of the wall in centuries. Arriving there, like Mr. Nixon, almost everybody has been struck by the sheer volume of the masonry and the scope of the labor involved, but the spirit of the place has been disappointingly elusive.

(...) It is the first major restoration of the wall in the Peking area since Badaling in the 1950's and the largest of at least five similar projects under way along a 1,000-mile stretch of the wall from the province of Liaoning to the province of Shanxi. Together, the projects make for the biggest upgrading of the wall since it ceased being a defensive battery with the collapse of the Ming Dynasty in 1644.

(...) At Badaling, where generations of peasants have stripped the hillsides bare for firewood and building timber, disguising the route will be more difficult."
Quote: New York Times 1985

(4) comparison:

Picture from 1912-1919 (University of Bristol)


Unreconstructed parts of the wall today (Wikimedia):


So what today is reconstruction, what isn't? Which parts are completely new?
How did the Badaling parts look like before CCP reconstruction?
The old unreconstructed parts could conceivably be the remains of a type of transport system with the towers as stations....
 

Piper

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The most logical explanation I have seen comes from Anatoly Fomenko, who belives the wall to have been more of a political border than a physical defensive construction.

Fomenko points to the 1700 map "L’Asie, Dressé sur les observations de l’Academie Royale des Sciences et quelques autres, et sur les memoires les plus recens" by G. de l’Isle, where "we find two states: Tartarie and China. The northern border of China runs approximately along the 40th parallel. And this is exactly where we see the Wall of China. Moreover, on the map it is drawn as a thick line with the legend in French: Muraille de la Chine.”

L’Asie, Dressé sur les observations de l’Academie.jpg

The same can be seen in the map of Asia from the famous Blaeu Atlas [1655]. As Fomenko again points out: "The Wall of China runs exactly along the Chinese border, with only a small western part inside China."

Asia - Blaeu Atlas [1655].jpg

Fomenko continues: "Our idea is corroborated by the very fact that the XVIII century cartographers have depicted the Wall of China on a political map. Therefore, it had the meaning of a political border. They didn’t depict other 'wonders of the world,' such as Egyptian pyramids, but made an exception for the Wall of China."

"In our opinion, it means the following: the Great wall of China was built in the XVI-XVII century as a political borderline between China and Tartary."
 

Forrest

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The border wall makes the most sense. There are several extensions to to Great Wall of China, so the borders have moved around a bit.

It's not a defensible structure, like a fort. The road is too narrow and long to get troops to a breach in time, while much of the terrain is too rough and steep for marching over at speed. It does make sense as a lookout and messaging system. It runs along the ridge tops with lookout stations on the peaks.

The question is, who built it? Supposedly, the access doors in the wall open away from China.
Post automatically merged:

MIA thread-

Old drawing-


The enormous wall around Peking/Beijing was called the Tartar Wall up until the early-mid 20th C. Construction is similar to the Great Wall. Mao tore it down-
https://www.stolenhistory.org/threads/the-great-tartar-wall-in-china.199/ (has more content)

The book "The Walls and Gates of Peking", [1924], is online and very detailed, almost brick by brick. The brick-stamps are in Chinese. Put "Tartar" in the search-
 
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