How Long is the Great Wall of China

how long is the Great Wall of China

Precisely, how long is the Great Wall of China? This is a question with no definite answer, at least for now.

Great Wall’s original Chinese name denotes “ten-thousand-mile long wall”. Of course “ten-thousand-mile” is just a conceptual term. However it forms a guideline of the length of the Great Wall.

At the northern frontier, the Great Wall of China stretches across nine provinces. It spans from longitude 100 degree east to 120 degrees east. The length of the Great Wall is difficult to measure as it zigzags and winds up and down mountain edges and valleys.

Some Reference Numbers

Online encyclopedia Wikipedia quoted 6,352 km (3,948 miles). The Great Wall Association quoted 6,300 km (3,800 miles). Both numbers look agreeing. But Great Wall Association’s number is based on documents from Ming Dynasty. How scientific the measuring was done is in doubt.

New China government post 1949 had undertaken a survey which revealed a length of over 7,000 km (4,500 miles) which didn’t agree with the old number.

How long is the Great Wall of China? There are too many variables hindering us from providing a definite answer. Is one mile in Ming Dynasty same as one mile nowadays? Is one mile in China same as one mile in Europe? Well, we do need a more scientific answer. Luckily there is going to be one soon.

Scientifically, how long is the Great Wall of China?

Hong Kong newspaper Ming Mao (January 21, 2006) reported that China Government has set a budget of ¥200 million (approximately US$25 million) to survey on the length and orientation of the Great Wall. State-of-the-art technologies such as aerial mapping via remote sensing, GIS (Geographic Information Systems), and GPS (Global Positioning System) are to be used.

In the new survey, an airplane equipped with a remote sensing camera will take photos of the Great Wall while flying along it. For the damaged parts, soil samples will be taken for archeological analysis to determine its age and location in order to facilitate a more accurate measurement.

Precisely, how long is the Great Wall of China? I would say that there will never be a definite number. In addition, if you know the Chinese culture of dealing with number, it's Chinese name "10,000-mile Long Wall" is the best description for a wall which is very very and very long. In fact, The Great Wall of Chinese is the only man-made masterpiece that could be seen from the moon!

Plan a Great Wall of China tour | History of the Great Wall
Great Wall main page

From How Long is the Great Wall of China back to Home Page