The Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China was built by the ancient Chinese to keep out invaders from other parts of Asia. Emperor Shi Huangdi, China's first Emperor, ordered that the building begin more than 2000 years ago. He wanted all the smaller walls that had been built earlier to be joined together to form one Great Wall.
Hundreds of thousands of men slaved to build it, and it took about 300 years to complete. The workers used stones and packed earth to construct the wall. It was dangerous work and more than a million men are said to have died during the construction.
In the 13th century, Genghis Khan invaded China and after breaking through the Great Wall the Yuan dynasty was established by his grandson. The Mongols ruled China from 1271 - 1368
During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the Great Wall was made larger, to stretch for 6 400 kilometres, and over a 200 year period the whole wall was repaired. The watch-towers and cannons were added too. Millions of men were needed to guard the Wall during the time of the Ming Dynasty.
Much of the Wall is now in ruins but some parts of the the Great Wall of China have been repaired and are popular tourist attractions. Thousands and thousands of people visit each year.
The Great Wall is 21 196 kilometres long
The Chinese name for the Great Wall : 长城 (Chángchéng /channg-chnng/ 'Long Wall')
Read more facts about the Great Wall
See a map of the wall here and watch video
Watch a video and read facts about the Great Wall of China
The Forbidden City
And read more here
An Army of Clay Warriors
In 1974 some Chinese farmers, while digging to make a well, discovered a tomb built for the Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. The emperor had the tomb built to include thousands of clay soldiers, clay horses and bronze chariots which were to protect him in the place where he thought he would be after he died.
The warriors are life-sized and lined up in formation ready for battle. Each model warrior has a different face and it is though that they were modelled on real warriors.
Watch a video here
Watch the video below that tells the story of the emperor who built the tomb.
Some Chinese Festivals
Chinese New Year
This is the most important holiday in China. But, the date of Chinese New Year changes each year because the Chinese use a Lunar calendar based on the cycles of the moon. The New Year is a spring festival and families gather together, visiting friends and relatives. They eat a lot and children receive gifts of money inside red envelopes. Houses are cleaned from top to bottom before the festival and red banners are hung for good luck and happiness. People set off fireworks to drive away evil spirits.
The Dragon Boat Festival is held at the beginning of summer. Dragon boats are very long canoes with dragon-shaped bows. Boats can be between 12 and 30 metres long and are rowed by up to 80 rowers. the aim is to be the first to the finish line to grab the flag that marks the end of the course.
The Dragon Race celebrates the life of a popular and much loved travelling poet Qu Yuan, (say: choo-you-en). When the his king was defeated in a battle, Qu Yuan jumped into a river in despair. Fishermen rushed to save him but they could not.
The Moon Festival is held between September and October. It is a time for families to celebrate and eat dinner outside under the moon to send thanks to the Moon Goddess for a long life and good health. They eat round pastry cakes filled with sweet dried fruits, beans and nuts.