The Great Wall of China is the most enormous engineering and building project carried out by humans, especially for its time. From the Bo Hai gulf, off the Yellow Sea in the east, to an area deep in the Gansu province to the west, the Great Wall stretches over 1,500 miles (2, 400 kilometers).
It all started in the Ch'in dynasty which existed in the fourth century B.C. Emperor Shih Haung Ti had ruled over an empire now known as China. The Chinese civilization was one of the strongest in the world, and their only enemies lived in the steppe regions of the north. They were known as the Huns and the Mongols. This powerful emperor ordered the wall to be built in order to keep out the enemy attacks. The construction utilized the hard labor, and often lives of many laborers and prisoners. Families were separated when men were sent to work on the wall. Although the wall was expensive to build, workers were paid very little, and high taxes often took their toll on the members of the society.
The Great Wall of China made the country of China itself into a fortress. It is built out of a simple structure of bricks, stone, and dirt. Slabs of stone were used for the base and sides of the wall, and it is filled in with dirt, rocks, and rubble. It ranges in height from 15 to 30 feet (5 to 9 meters), with watch towers rising at regular intervals above it. Visitors can travel the 13 foot (4 meter) wide roadway on the top of the wall.