The Top 10 FAQs About the Great Wall

The Great Wall The Great Wall of China

Before visiting the Great Wall, you may have many questions about it. Read on to see answers to Top 10 frequently asked questions.

10. What is the Great Wall made of?

In addition to stone, parts of the wall consist of brick, wood, and compacted earth. In some parts, glutinous rice flower is used as the sealant between bricks.

Read more about What Was the Great Wall of China Made of?.

9. What is the Great Wall’s Chinese name?

长城 Chángchéng /channg-chnng/ 'Long Wall', Also called 万里长城 (Wàn-lǐ-cháng chéng). It is literally translated to mean 10,000-Li-Long Wall (i.e. 5,000-Kilometer-Long Wall), which leads on to the question "How long is the Great Wall really?".

8. How far is the Great Wall from Beijing?

  • Restored Mutianyu Great Wall: 2 hours' drive by car
  • Wild Jiankou Great Wall: 3 hours' drive by car
  • Steep Simatai Great Wall: 2.5 hours' drive by car
  • Unrestored Gubeikou Great Wall: 1.5 hours' drive by car
  • Wheelchair-friendly Juyongguan Great Wall: 1.5 hours' drive by car

Read more on The Best 10 Sections/Parts of the Great Wall to Visit.

7. What time of year is best to visit?

the great wall at mutianyuThe Great Wall at Mutianyu in autumn

The fall and spring are the two best times to see the Great Wall.

During the fall, the changing colors of leaves and vegetation around the wall make for a spectacular sight, while the Spring brings superb weather and smaller crowds at the higher traffic sections.

While the summer is still nice, July and August temperatures can reach the upper 80’s and low 90’s with a higher chance of rain. Winter at the Great Wall means picturesque frost-covered scenes, the cold air feels even colder due to the biting winds.

6. When was the Great Wall built?

Construction on the earliest pieces of the wall began in the 7th century BC and additional pieces were constructed and connected in later centuries.

During the first dynasty in the third century BC, Emperor Qin unified China and ordered the destruction of parts of the wall that divided the various groups. To keep out northern enemies, he ordered construction of a new section of the wall to connect the wall’s remaining fortification.

Read more about "Who Built the Great Wall of China — When It Was Built and Why".

5. Why was it built?

why the great wall was builtThe Great Wall was built to prevent invasion from other northern nations, and also to protect Silk Road trade.

The primary function of the wall was for protection from invasion by Mongolian and Manchu armies from the North. Watchmen were stationed on the wall to keep lookout for approaching enemies.

Also important was the Wall’s role in containing the developing empire to only those within its boundaries. In Han Dynasty, the Great Wall was extended west to Yumenguan to protect Silk Road trade.

4. What makes the Great Wall of China such a famous landmark?

The Great Wall is the world’s longest fortification, spanning over 5,000 km, as well as one of the oldest remaining man-made structures

You may be interested in more of China's Ancient Wonders.

3. Which section should I visit?

jiankouThe Great Wall at Jiankou is the steepest wild Great Wall section.

The answer to this question lies in exactly how you would like to experience the wall.

hf="/greatwall/hiking.htm" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Great Wall hiking tours for inspirations.

2. How do I get there?

That is a great question, with many answers. Sections of the wall are easily accessible from Beijing via private car, tour, or if you’re feeling especially adventurous,see How to visit the Great Wall.

Our Great Wall tours offer great ways to see the world's most famous wall, as part of a tour of Beijing or China.

1. Can you really see the Great Wall from Outer Space?

No. This myth dates back centuries before man entered space, and has been thoroughly debunked. Read more about why the Great Wall can't be seen from outer space.

Learn More about the Great Wall