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Great Wall Composition


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The Great Wall it is not just a single wall stretching miles, but a complete defense project of many kinds of fortifications consisted by the walls and watchtowers, passes, pier forts, campsites, the gileadites, beacon towers. This defensive engineering system is controlled by vertical military commanding systems. With the Ming Great Wall as an example, the Great Wall from Yalu River to Jiayu Pass was repaired and divided into nine military jurisdiction areas respectively responsible for the defense. The nine subsection Northern Liaoning, XuanFu, Datong, Shanxi, Yulin, Guyuan, Gansu, Ningxia was called the "nine edge heavy town". Each town had its chief commander responsible for the defense within the jurisdiction or being ordered to support adjacent military areas. There were 100 million troops along the Ming Great Wall. The chief commanders stationed in the town while the subordinate officials in the gileadites, campsites, passes and the watchtowers and pier forts in the walls.


  • The Walls

It is the main part of this defensive project. According to the terrain, it was built higher in many plains and lower in mountains of danger, so as to save manpower and expenses. In Juyong Pass, Badaling, Hebei, Shanxi, Gansu and other regions of the Great Wall, the average height of walls is about 7 or 8 meters and bottom about 6 or 7 meters thick, 45 meters wide. At the top of the wall sets one-meter high Yu Wall in case the patrols dropped out. Viewport was set at the top of two-meter high Crenel Wall with shoot holes and stone holes below in order to watch over-centralization, shoot and roll stones against enemies. Some important walls’ top also has a barrier wall to resist enemies climbing the wall.

In the middle of Ming dynasty, the Great Wall fortifications had significant improvement .Watchtowers and barbican was set up to accommodate patrols and store grain. The defensive function had been greatly enhanced


  • The Pass

It is the most centralized defensive stronghold. Its position is crucial, where constructed in favorable defensive terrain in order to force against strong invaders with few troops. The so-called "one defender, no invader ", vividly illustrates the importance of the pass. The passes along the wall have different sizes in a large number. There are nearly 1000 passes of the Ming Great Wall, such as the famous Shanhai Pass, Junyong Pass, Zijing Pass, Daoma Pass, Pingxing pass, etc. Some big passes still contain many small passes nearby that make up defensives project construction system together. Some important passes itself have several defensive lines, such as Junyong Pass. Besides the pass itself, there are three defenses South Entrance, North Entrance, and Shangguan. North Entrance namely Badaling, is the most important outpost of the Junyong Pass defense.


  • The Beacon Tower

It is the most important part of the Great Wall. Its function is to transfer military situation. The beacon tower served as communication tools very early. Since the Great Wall was built, the towers were used perfectly and became a best way to transfer information in ancient times. Smoke would be used at daytime and torch at night. The number of enemies was reflected on how much and how long the smoke and torch lasted During the Ming Dynasty smoke was still used with sounds of guns to enhance the effect that made the military's alarm instantly travel fast. The layout of the beacon towers is also very important. The towers need to be put in high mountains of danger or winding areas. Every three towers need to see each other so as to transfer information.  Besides transferring sources, the tower still used to protect envoys, provide accommodation, supply horses and food etc.