For thousands of years, the Great Wall of China has protected its people from invaders.
Now, as one of the Earth’s greatest wonders, it is in dire need of protection and repair for itself. Apart from the scenic stretches of the wall, such as Badaling, Mutianyu, and Simatai, the majority of the UNESCO World Heritage Site lies disintegrated in vast grasslands and deserts.
CCTV’s Li Qiong reports.
Great Wall in need of renovationFor thousands of years, the Great Wall of China has protected its people from invaders.
The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications made of stone, brick, tamped earth, wood, and other materials. It’s generally built longitudinally along the historical northern borders of China to protect the then Chinese states and empires from foreign invaders. It’s believed to have been first built by Qinshihuang, the first emperor of China more than 2000 years ago. Since then, the Great Wall was rebuilt, maintained, and enhanced. The majority of the existing wall dates from the Ming Dynasty.
The Great Wall of China once evoked images of mighty dragons winding carelessly through the mountains. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case as the majority of the wall lies in ruins. Some parts are completely buried by sand, after having been exposed to the elements for thousands of years.
The protection of the Wall is more urgent than ever before.
Natural erosion and war took the most toll on the historical site, but illegal tourism in recent decades has exacerbated the damage.
A comprehensive repair plan started at the beginning of the turn of the millennium. However, the cost, time and difficulty proved to be more than what was expected.
It takes half a year to restore a little less than 100 meters.
“This sector is about 70 or 80 meters long. The bricks and lime are carried up by mules while larger stocks were transferred little by little by machine. It’s quite difficult,” said Sun Zhenqing, an engineer from The Great Wall repair team.
Experts from different fields have joined the repair effort. 45 kilometers of the Great Wall in Beijing has been repaired in the past 16 years, but there is still more than 500 kilometers to go.