Great Wall in Gansu

Gansu Province is one of the provinces which have the most sections of the Great Wall. Recent research shows that the walls built in Gansu are mainly the relics of four dynasties: Warring Periods, Qin, Han and Ming. The total length reaches 2,734 miles, which is indispensable to the study of the Great Wall of China and the history, geography and culture of western areas in China.

The construction of the Great Wall in Gansu follows the principle of using local materials. In the northeast mountainous areas, the wall was built from the local large pieces of stone or bricks, which couldn't be obtained in the dry western Loess Plateau and desert belt. The clever ancient laboring people built the wall by ramming the earth as solid as stones. This dense earth made the body of the wall difficult to deform and split. Jiayuguan Pass is a typical example built in this way. In the desert area, people created the wall by laying local branches of red willow, reeds and sand layer upon layer. Yumenguan Pass and Yangguan Pass are relics of this kind.

The present state of the Gansu Great Wall is the result of using compacted earth; hundreds of years have not been kind to this ancient section. One third of the section is basically complete, one third is broken and the rest is disappearing.

The wall in Gansu is not an exception. It is suffering from both natural disasters and human intervention. The natural factors include wind erosion, floods, heavy rains and earthquake. Human activities are even more destructive. Ever ready to innovate and use their surroundings, local people have used parts of the wall in order to build railways, highroads and houses. In Gansu, the valuable wall relic built during Warring States is only half of the original 373 miles. The Great Wall of Han Dynasty is only left 621 miles compared to the original 1,367 miles and 621 miles of the Great Wall of Ming Dynasty can be seen from the original 870 miles.

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