The Great Wall of China, built to protect the northern border of the Chinese Empire, is an amazing spectacle. In fact, the Great Wall — known to the Chinese as the “Long Wall of 10,000 Li” — is actually a series of walls and earthen works begun in the 5th Century BC and connected centuries later. Since it’s so old, it seems odd that no one really knows the precise dimensions of the iconic structure. Didn’t anybody bother to measure it when they were building it? Or when David Copperfield penetrated it? So weird.
In any event, researchers with both the State Administration of Cultural Heritage and the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping are planning to undertake a detailed survey to establish just how long the ancient barricade is. In addition, they also plan to map the wall’s exact route and check its fortification. After all, a wall over 2000 years old probably needs some patching.
Though you can’t really tag along on the 4-year project, you can walk the Wall yourself with a tour company like China Hiking Adventures or the Adventure Center. Alternatively, you can arrange for the permits and try to tackle it yourself, like Eddie Davis and Beau Bacevicius did in 1997. It took them 109 days, and they clocked it at a paltry 1800 miles. Curiosity piqued? Brendan Fletcher and Emma Nicholas are walking the Wall right now — and blogging their adventure!