What is the Great Wall of China made of?

Walking along sections of the Great Wall that have been restored, it is possible to see that it is made of stones and mortar. In other more remote stretches of the Wall, it was hastily put together with straw and mud, and in some places even rice and mud. The trick of the builders was to make it just high enough to prevent people or horses from breaching the walls. In some stretches, the Wall is only a few meters tall. In other places, it is several stories tall.

What is the Terracotta Army?

Located in Xian, China, in Shaangxi Province, which was once the capital of the Chinese Empire for 13 dynasties, the Terracotta Army is one of the great archaeological finds of

The Terracotta Army, created in the third century B.C.E., was discovered buried near Xian, China (image courtesy of Maros Mraz/GNU free documentation license).

The Terracotta Army, created in the third century B.C.E., was discovered buried near Xian, China (image courtesy of Maros Mraz/GNU free documentation license).

the twentieth century. It was discovered by two farmers who were drilling for water in 1974. In the third century b.c.e., the very first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, united China, established the longest-running form of government, built the Great Wall, and built his own elaborate tomb. As a symbol of his rule and to guard himself in the afterlife, Qin Shi Huang had an entire army replicated—approximately 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses, and 15 cavalry horses, all life size and each with distinct facial expressions—to guard the first emperor's mausoleum at Mt. Li in Xi'an, China.

What is the Three Gorges Dam?

The Yangtze River will soon be the site of world's largest electricity-generating facility, the Three Gorges Dam. Construction began in 1994 and should be completed around 2009. The construction of the dam requires the relocation of over one million Chinese living upstream of the dam, as the rising waters will flood towns and archaeological sites. The reservoir will be approximately 600 miles (965 kilometers) long, spanning the Yangtze River in Sandouping, Hubei Province, China. The dam will be about 600 feet (183 meters) high, and 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) wide.

When operational, the dam will produce 22,000 megawatts of power, more than eight times the power produced at Hoover Dam in the United States. The environmental impacts of the dam are now being felt, with increased drought, less rainfall, and mudslides that can endanger the millions of people who live nearby. More than 1.2 million people were relocated from the area, and 116 towns and cities were evacuated in order to complete the project.

How important is China to the biodiversity in the world?

China's territory covers 3,705,390 square miles (9,596,960 square kilometers) of land. This vast expanse includes a wide diversity of wildlife, as well as 10 percent of the world's plants with stems, roots, and leaves. Therefore, China's policies for managing its natural resources are very important for the health of the planet.

Where can you see the Great Wall?

There are several places where tourists may see the Great Wall that are within a one-to two-hour car ride from the capital city of Beijing. One of the most famous and most developed tourist areas is Badaling, where one can see both the Great Wall of China, in its restored and untouched splendor, and the nearby Ming Tombs.

What is the oldest European settlement in eastern Asia?

In 1557, the Portuguese established the trading colony of Macao on mainland China at the mouth of the Xi (Pearl) River. Macao was a territory of Portugal from 1849 until 1999, when it was returned to China.

Why isn't Tibet on the map?

Tibet is not on the map because it is no longer an independent country. Though Tibet was once a theocratic Buddhist kingdom, China annexed it in 1950. Tibet is now a mildly autonomous region in southwestern China with a puppet communist government. In addition to the destruction of the Tibetan Buddhist religion in the 1960s by China, China also moved Tibetans out of the area and moved ethnic Chinese into Tibet to help moderate Tibet's secessionist ideas.

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