The Great Wall of China

Beginning in the 7th century BC, a series of massive defensive fortifications were constructed along China's northern border. Built to protect China from northern attacks, the walls stretched out for thousands of kilometers, many joining together to become the Great Wall of China. Over several centuries, the wall and thousands of supporting structures were built across mountains, deserts, and rivers, eventually stretching more than 20,000 kilometers in length. Sections of the wall near large cities are well-maintained, but many remote areas are slowly being reclaimed by nature. Gathered here are images of the Great Wall over the years, from its westernmost pass at Jiayuguan to where it meets the sea in Qinhuangdao.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Matt Eich

    A Hidden American Anger

    Life in Ohio's proud but economically abandoned small towns

  • Thomas Mukoya / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: 11/26–12/2

    Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska, a beard and mustache competition organized by the Bangalore Beard Club, wildfires in Tennessee and Israel, Cubans mourn Fidel Castro, a monkey buffet in Thailand, and much more.

  • NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team

    2016 Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar

    Every day until Sunday, December 25, we’ll present one new image of our universe from NASA’s ‘scope.

  • Handout / Reuters

    Photos of the Wildfires Near Gatlinburg, Tennessee

    On Monday, a fire erupted in a section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, quickly spreading through the drought-affected area around Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Join the Discussion