Walls - The Great Wall of China
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WALLSThe Great Wall of China
By Tamarapu Sampath Kumaran
Southern News Bureau59, 1st Main Road, Besant Nagar CHENNAI 600090 - India
About the Author:Mr T Sampath Kumaran is a freelance writer. He regularly contributes articles on Management, Business, Ancient Temples, and Temple Architecture to many leading Dailies and Magazines. His articles are, popular in The Young World section of THE HINDU His e-books and articles on Hindu deities, Festivals, Nature, and different cultures of people around the world are educative and of special interest to the young. He was associated in the production of two Documentary films on Nava Tirupathi Temples, and Tirukkurungudi Temple in Tamilnadu. These e-book series are being presented, since reference books seem to be losing patronage among the younger generation. The internet, which has crept into study rooms, is slowly showing the encyclopedia and reference books borrowed from libraries their way out. Students consider the internet a worthy alternative.
Acknowledgement - Pictures and references : Courtesy - Google.com
Walls:A wall is generally referred to a solid structure that defines as well protects an area. The English word "wall" is derived from Latin vallum, which was a type of fortification wall. A wall is classified as Boundary walls which include privacy walls, boundary-marking walls on property, and city walls. While the partition is of wood or wires it is called fence and when it is made of masonry structure and is completely closed, or opaque is termed as Wall.
The origin of walls is viewed, as one that have been inadvertently structured by the farmers who often pulled large quantities of stone out of their fields in rocky areas to make farming easier, and they stacked those stones which ultimately made as walls to protect their property as well mark the field boundary. Some settlements in the Indus valley Civilization of about 3500 B.C., hundreds of small farming villages had fortifications and planned streets. There were stone and mud brick houses clustered behind massive stone flood dykes and defensive walls. One of the cities located in the Indus Valley is Harappa, and a neighboring city 350 miles away, Mohenjo-Daro. Excavations reveal large, orderly walls of massive brick buildings,
perhaps as much for trade regulation as defense. Mundigak (2500 B.C.) in present day south-east Afghanistan has defensive walls and square bastions of sun dried bricks. From very early history to modern times, walls have been a near necessity for every city. Jericho in what is now the West Bank, had a wall surrounding it as early as the 8th millennium BC, and Uruk in ancient Sumer (Mesopotamia) is also considered to be one of the world's oldest known walled cities. In ancient Greece, large stone walls had been built in Mycenaean Greece during classical era Greece, and the city of Athens built a long set of parallel stone walls called the Long Walls that reached their guarded seaport at Piraeus. The Romans fortified their cities with massive, mortar-bound stone walls. The most famous of these are the largely extant Aurelian Walls of Rome.
Apart from these, the early middle Ages also saw the creation of some towns built around castles. These cities were only rarely protected by simple stone walls. The early rulers of India and the Moghals built walls around the forts.
The Hindu temples have high walls around the sanctum, depicting the breathtaking divine figures with
scintillating carvings both inside and outside. Srirangam temple in Southern India has many walls surrounding the main temple and the whole town is established inside. The practice of building these massive walls, though having its origins in prehistory, was refined during the rise of city-states, and energetic wall-building continued into the medieval period and beyond in certain parts of Europe. During the renascence era, the Venetians raised great walls around cities threatened by the Ottoman Empire. The finest examples are, among others, in Nicosia (Cyprus) and Chania (Crete), and they still stand, to this day.
In olden days before the invention of artillery, many of the Cities had Protective walls. Later when the cities have grown beyond their walls, many of the walls have been demolished. Still existing ones are the Great Wall of China and the Hadrians Wall, as well a number of walls around the forts of Royal palaces. The Berlin Wall, which divided Germany, is a modern functional example.
Beyond their defensive utility many walls also had important symbolic functions representing the status and independence of the communities they embraced. Walls are classified to Classical, Biblical, Byzantine Antiquity & feudal era. They are spread over all the continents of the world. Some of them are listed hereunder:
The Cairo great wall in Egypt
The Cheolli Jangseong in North Korea
Great Wall of China Erdene Zuu Monastery, and Genghis Khan wall in Mongolia
Long wall in Greece
Great wall of Gorgan in Iran
Jerusalem wall Israel
Kumbhalgarh wall in India
Western wall in Jerusalem
Kremlin wall in Moscow
Intramurous wall in Philippines Paczkow wall in Poland
Silesia wall in Poland Servian wall in Rome
Trajan wall in Romania
Visby Ring wall in Sweden
Aurelian Walls in Italy, Rome.
Avila Wall and Barcelona walls, Roman wall and Arabic wall in Spain
Anastasian Wall and Constantinople wall in Turkey
Antonine wall, Chester city wall, London Wall, Wansdyke wall, York city wall and Watts Dyke in the United Kingdom and Hadrians wall in Scotland. Serpents wall in Ukraine
The defensive towers of west and south European fortifications in the middle Ages were
often very regularly and uniformly constructed whereas Central European city walls show a variety of different styles, with the gate and wall towers reaching up to considerable heights. Apart from the purely military, defensive purpose, towers also played an important representative and artistic role in the conception of a fortified complex. In many senses, the architecture of the city thus competed with that of the castle of the monarch and city walls were often a manifestation of the pride of a particular city.
Walls and fortified wall structures were built in the modern era, too. Berlin's city wall from the 1730s to the 1860s was partially made of wood. Its primary purpose was to enable the city to impose tolls on goods and, secondarily, also served to prevent the desertion of soldiers from the garrison in Berlin.
Further walls of the 20th century are found in Israel where many exclaves of Jewish settlements are surrounded by fortified walls. Most of these "modern" city walls are made of steel and concrete. Vertical concrete plates are put together so as to allow the least space in between them, and are rooted firmly in the ground. The top of the wall is often protruding and beset with barbed wire in order to make climbing them more difficult. These walls are usually built in straight lines and covered by watchtowers at the corners.
Wan-Li Qang-Qeng - The Great WallFor over four thousand years China has enjoyed a rich and developing culture, the longest continuous civilization in the history of the world. In both the sciences and the arts, Chinese have made great contributions to the knowledge of mankind. The Great wall is the paramount symbol of Chinas standing and achievement. Walls have played an important role in China and it is a colossal human feat. No other culture seems to have adopted walls as enthusiastically as the Chinese.
Great structures have served a number of purposes. Building the wall involved a good part of the Chinese population at various periods for nearly 2000 years. In fact the Great wall is not really one wall at all, but a series of walls built and rebuilt by different emperors. Thus there is the Great wall of Qin dynasty, of the Han dynasty and Ming dynasty and many others in between. In Chinese the wall is called "Wan-Li Qang-Qeng", since the wall was first built by Qin Shi Huangdi, the first emperor of China during Qin dynast (221 206 BC.) The Great Wall of Chin was built mainly to protect the Chinese Empire from the
Mongolians and other invaders. It was first built in the 7th century B.C. when China was still divided into many small states. A first set of walls, designed to keep Mongol nomads out of China, were built of earth and stones in wood frames.
The Great Wall of China is not a continuous wall but is a collection of short walls during the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BCE). Some additions and modifications were made to these simple walls over the next millennium but the major construction of the "modern" walls began in the Ming Dynasty (1388-1644 CE).
The Ming fortifications were established in new areas from the Qin walls. They were up to 25 feet (7.6 meters) high, 15 to 30 feet (4.6 to 9.1 meters) wide at the base, and from 9 to 12 feet (2.7 to 3.7 meters) wide at the top (wide enough for marching troops or wagons). At regular intervals, guard stations and watch towers were established. It averages about 20 feet wide and 26 feet high. Parts of the wall are so broad that 10 persons can walk across it side by side. Materials used for the wall, were whatever could be found near by - clay, stone, willow branches, reeds and sand. 140 kilometers at the north-east end of Beijing City, there is a section of the Great Wall, called Jinshanling Great Wall. It is 90 kilometers to the Mountain Resort of Chengdu. Its east end connects to the Simatai Great Wall. Jinshangling Great Wall got its name because it was built on the bigger and the smaller Jinshan Mountains. The Jinshanling Great Wall was initially built