Although it was not listed as one of the 'Seven Wonders of the Ancient World' the Great Wall of China should have a least won an "honorable mention", assuming they were only sticking with seven. Even though it’s not visible from space it's still massive. Some estimates have the Wall measuring, in total, over 13,100 mi (21,197km). It's ancient. Some portions of the wall (it was not built all at once) date back to the 7th Century BCE. It's also under assault, from the ravages of time, environmental, human, financial, and political causes.

Great obstacles

It is not a far stretch to say that something of this size requires a lot of attention and maintenance. What was once a great obstacle for foreign invaders, is finally succumbing. One third of the still-proud defensive structure, has collapsed or crumbled to dust. It is by definition a monumental task.

Stating that China’s interest in historical and cultural preservation has been uneven is an understatement. During the Cultural Revolution of the 1970s, government officials encouraged citizens to dismantle the wall to build their homes in the name of cultural progress and development.

Attitudes have shifted somewhat with China enacting regulations to protect the wall. Local government is often burdened with the financial expense of maintaining, and protecting, some of which lack the resources and incentive to do so. The current economic climate of China certainly hasn't shifted the focus towards it and building military power may be more of a national priority.


It is sad that something so great, built by a great people, and that has played the part of a gracious host to the most powerful people on Earth, may soon be gone.

Over 400 world leaders have visited the Great Wall: heads of state, presidents, premiers, prime ministers, and both Eastern and Western royalty. It has been equally enjoyed by over 10,000,000 tourists that explore its walls, towers, and battlements, annually. The Great Wall has always been a symbol and cultural touchstone that the world outside of China has shared. While quintessentially Chinese, there is a shared human connection to it.

The Great Wall’s last line of defense is taking the form of academics, preservationists, and 21st Century invaders armed with smartphones and fanny packs, and the businesses that follow their money.

A greater commitment by government may follow. Will this be enough to save the Great Wall from turning to dust in the next 1,000 years?

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