The Great Wall, one of the greatest wonders of the world, was listed as a World Heritage by UNESCO in 1987. Like a gigantic dragon, it winds up and down across deserts, grasslands and mountains, stretching approximately 13,170 miles from east to west of China.
With a history of over 2,000 years, some of the sections are in ruins now or have disappeared. However, it is still one of the most appealing attractions in the world due to it's grandness and historical significance.
Around 220 B.C., Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of a unified China, took the order that earlier fortifications between states be removed and the existing walls along the north of the border be joined into one system to protect China against attacks from the north.
But the Great Wall we see today was built during the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644) mostly. It starts from Hushan in the east to Jiayuguan Pass in the west traversing Liaoning, Hebei, Beijing, Tianjin, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Shaanxi, Gansu and Qinghai.
The best-known section of the Great Wall is Badaling. It is located 43 miles (70 km) northwest of Beijing and was rebuilt in the late 1950s, it attracts thousands of visitors both from home and abroad every day.
The Great Wall carries a very big part of Chinese culture. It has long been incorporated into Chinese mythology and symbolism. The most wildly spreaded one is about the collapse of a section of the Wall caused by Meng Jiangnu, who cried bitterly over the death of her husband, who was one of the builders of the wall. This legend has been spread widely that even primary school students knows about it.
In China there is also an old saying that "He who has never been to the Great Wall is not a true man." It's much exaggerated, but it tells largely the importance of the wall in Chinese people's mind.