Great Wall size mystery may be resolved
Updated: 2006-10-27 08:52 A 500-year-old question - just
how long is China's Great Wall? - will be answered in 2008 by two government
A massive geographical survey of the Great Wall will be launched by the State
Administration of Cultural Heritage and the State Bureau of Surveying and
Mapping. The survey will be completed by next year and the basic statistics of
the Great Wall, including its length and layout, will be released in 2008,
Local governments have been gathering statistics on the Great Wall since the
1980s. "But due to limited knowledge and technology at the time, most parts of
the Great Wall remain unknown to us," Shan Qixiang, director of the SACH, said.
"It's necessary for the government to organize a scientific survey so we have a
comprehensive and accurate understanding of the Great Wall."
The wall is generally considered to start at the Jiayuguan Pass in Gansu
Province and stretch 6,000 kilometers to the Shanhaiguan Pass on the shores of
Bohai Bay in the east, yet no one knows for sure the ancient wonder's exact
The departments will jointly establish a database based on the results of
their survey to facilitate future research and protection of the Great Wall.
Scientists and historians say they will focus their work on the portion of
the Great Wall near Beijing, which was built during the Ming Dynasty
The Great Wall was first built in the Warring States Period (476-221 BC),
when separate sections were built in various strategic areas to defend the
country against invasion by northern nomadic tribes.
As nature and human activity continue to take their toll on the Great Wall,
the central government has increased efforts to protect the unique historical
relic. On Tuesday, the Chinese government issued a regulation to protect the
Great Wall, which bans defacing and driving on the Great Wall, taking soil or
bricks and building anything on it that is not designed to protect the