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Great Wall of Qin Dynasty

   Great Wall of the Qin Dynasty
A section of the Great Wall of Qin Dynasty (221 to 206 BC) (qín cháng chéng 秦长城) stretches for 100 kilometres through the territory of Baotou (bāo tóu 包头), and the wall in Guyang County (gù yáng xiàn 固阳县), 10 metres high, presents a magnificent sight. A section located in Shiguai district (shí guǎi qū 石拐区) is the oldest existing part of the Great Wall.


Qin DynastyQin Shihuang
The Qin came to power in 221 BC. They were one of the western states that existed during the Warring States Period (zhàn guó shí qī 战国时期). They conquered the other Warring States, unifying China for the first time. Their leader named himself the First Emperor, or Shi huangdi (shǐ huáng dì 始皇帝) [called Qin Shihuang (qín shǐ huáng 秦始皇) in China’s history], thus beginning the tradition of having emperors for rulers. The Qin, while not the most culturally advanced of the Warring States was militarily the strongest. They utilized many new technologies in warfare, especially cavalry. The Qin are sometimes called the Ch'in (qín 秦), which is probably where the name China originated.

The achievements of the Qin are numerous. They standardized the language and writing of China, which had varied greatly from area to area during the Warring States Period. Also, currency became standardized as a circular copper coin with a square hole in the middle. Measurements and axle length were also made uniform. This was done because the cartwheels made ruts in the road, and the ruts had to all be the same width, or carts with a different axle length could not travel on them. Many public works projects were also undertaken. A Great Wall terra cotta warriorswas built in the north, to protect against invasions. Roads and irrigation canals were built throughout the country. Also, a huge palace was built for Qin Shihuang. The Qin are also famous for the terra cotta army that was found at the burial site for Qin Shihuang. The army consisted of 6,000 pottery soldiers that protected the tomb. They may be a replacement for the actual people who had previously been buried with the rulers.

Despite all of these accomplishments, Qin Shihuang was not a popular leader. The public works and taxes were too great a burden to the population. It seemed that Qin Shihuang could not be satisfied. Also, the nobility disliked him because they were deprived of all their power and transplanted. Finally, he banned all books that advocated forms of government other than the current one. The writings of the great philosophers of the One Hundred Schools time were burned and more than 400 opponents were executed.

The Qin rule came to an end shortly after the First Emperor's death. Qin Shihuang had only ruled for 37 years, when he died suddenly in 210 BC. His son took the throne as the Second Emperor, but was quickly overthrown and the Han dynasty began in 206 BC.


The Great Wall of Qin DynastyMeng Tian
In the year 221 BC, Emperor Qin Shihuang defeated all his enemies and unified China for the first time in its history. During his reign, the Huns (xīong nú rén 匈奴人) from the north were a constant threat, often coming down to the Yellow River Basin and taking land from people in the Hetao Area (hé tào dì qū 河套地区), located at the top of the Great Bend of the Yellow River in Ningxia and Inner Mongolia. To protect his people and safeguard his political power, the Emperor ordered General Meng Tian (méng tián 蒙恬), commanding 300,000 soldiers, to defeat the enemy force. To prevent further attacks by the Huns, he decided to consolidate and extend the Great Wall of China.

Qin Shihuang found that the walls of the Yan (yān 燕), Zhao (zhào 赵) and ex-Qin States were disconnected from each other and could hardly stop enemies from breaking in again. So in the year 215 BC, he ordered to link up these three walls. The weather-beaten parts were also reconstructed and new parts were added in some places. The labors for this construction numbered 2,000,000, made up of the army under the command of Meng Tian, confiscated labors, captives of war and the guilty people against laws of that time. It took about nine years to finish this grand project. The construction of the Qin Great Wall took many lives and a great deal of money and materials. From a historical aspect, during Qin Shihuang's rule, the Great Wall had served its role as a defensive force to protect people from wars and ensured them a peaceful and stable society.

The Great Wall of Qin DynastySince the Liberation of China, the Chinese government has launched several investigations on the Great Wall of the Qin Dynasty along the route that passed by Min County (mín xiàn 岷县) of Gansu Province (gān sù shěng 甘肃省), Langyashan County (láng yá shān xiàn 琅琊山县), Yanshan Mountain (yān shān 燕山), Chifeng (chì fēng 赤峰) of Hebei Province (hé běi shěng 河北省) till entering into Jilin Province (jí lín shěng 吉林省). The relics of the wall can still be seen scattered along the route. Some parts relatively well preserved are about five or six meters high, made of blocks of mud or stone of the local resources.


Ten Thousand Li Great Wall
The finished wall extended further at the north end as the territory of the Qin Dynasty in the north had expanded. The Great Wall of Qin resembled a gigantic dragon, extending from Lintao in the west to Liaodong in the east. Thus it was named 'Wanli Changcheng' (wàn lǐ cháng chéng 万里长城) (Ten Thousand Li Great Wall).


Three SectionsGreat Wall in Baotou
Generally speaking, Qin's Great Wall can be divided into three sections: western, middle and eastern. The western section started from the present Min County in Gansu Province, winding its way to Inner Mongolia via Guyuan County in Gansu Province; Jingbian (jìng biān 靖边), Yulin (yú lín 榆林), Shenmu (shén mù 神木) in Shaanxi Province (shǎn xī shěng 陕西省); ending at the south bank of the Yellow River. The middle section started from Xinghe County (xīng hé xiàn 兴和县) in Inner Mongolia, winding its way to the north border of Wulanbuhe desert (wū lán bù hé shā mò 乌兰布和沙漠) by way of Daqingshan Mountain (dà qīng shān 大青山), Guyuan County, Yinshan Mountains (yīn shān 阴山) and the Yellow River. This part of the Great Wall was built mainly by using rubbles left from existing walls. The eastern section started from Huade County (huà dé xiàn 化德县), Inner Mongolia, through Hebei Province, ending in Fuxin City (fù xīn shì 阜新市) in Liaoning Province (liáo níng shěng 辽宁省). This part of the wall was built on the foundation of the ruins of Yan Dynasty walls.


Opening Hours: 8:00 - 17:00
Admission Fee: CNY 35
Location: 58 kilometers away from the urban areas of Baotou.

 

Last Updated on Friday, 10 September 2010 18:35
 

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