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Rampart of Great Wall

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The wall is the main construction work, connecting strategic mountain passes, towers and beacon fire sites into an integrated unit. The wall is built in accordance with the terrain. It's width and height vary from place to place. Take Juyongguan Pass and Badaling for instance. The body of the wall here averages 7 or 8 meters in height. It is 6 or 7 meters thick at the base. The top is 5 meters wide. The wall is therefore narrow at top and broad at base.

Inside the body of the wall, not far away: is an arched gate, where stone or brick paved steps lead one to the top. The top is built with three or four layers of bricks, paved into road, 4-5 meters wide, which accommodates five horse or 10 persons abreast. A brick wall--one meter high, is erected inside the wall top, known as nver qiang or parapet. Outside is a 2 meter high battlement, each of which contains a small opening on top to watch over the movement of approaching invaders. Another small opening is found below from which arrows can be discharged. On the wall in the section of Shalingkou Pass (Jinshanling), Luanping, Hebei, we find layer and layer of battlements on two sides Of major watch towers, where observatory openings and arrow-discharging openings are found. This is used to enable defenders to climb to the top Of the wall and make a last-ditch stand incase the enemy has broken through the defence. To avoid washing away of wall by rain,drainage and spouting openings have been installed.

Different kinds of towers
On the wall we can find several types of towers.

  • One is called qiang tai, as high as the wall itself. It is projected prominently outside the wall, whose outer edge is a battlement. On the tower is berth, which provides shelter to soldiers from wind and rain.
  • Another is called di tai or di lou, a two-storied building. on the ground floor there are a dozen or so arched rooms -- built of bricks and used as barrack for an equal number Of soldiers. In giving battle, many soldiers can take cover here during offensive. The upper floor consists of battlements and rooms built of bricks or combining of wooden pillars and brick walls. Beacon fires can be lighted here, as there are facilities for this.
  • A third type is called zhan tai, located in strategic places. Considerable supplies of arrows and bows,cannons and ammunitions are stored here. Defence works surrounding the towers are more complete and can enable soldiers to put up a strong resistance.

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