The Great Wall of China – World Cultural Heritage in China

In 220 BC, under Qin Shi Huang, sections of the previous fortifications were joined together to form a unified defense against invasions from the north. Construction continued until the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), when the Great Wall became the largest military structure in the world. Its historical and strategic importance is matched only by its architectural significance.

Accreditation year: 1987
Criteria: (i)(ii)(iii)(iv)(vi)
Area: 2,151.55 ha
Buffer zone: 4,800.8 ha
Liaoning, Jilin, Hebei, Beijing, Tianjin, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi, Ningxia, Gansu, Xinjiang, Shandong, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Sichuan, Qinghai , provinces, cities and autonomous regions

The Great Wall of China at Jinshanling-edit.jpg

Outstanding global value

The Great Wall was built continuously from the 3rd century BC to the 17th century AD on the northern border of the country as the great military defense of the Chinese Empires next to each other, with a total length of more than 20,000 km. The Great Wall of China begins in the east at Shanhaiguan in Hebei Province and ends at Jiayuguan in Gansu Province in the west. Its main part consists of the walls, a racecourse, watchtowers and wall shelters, and includes the fortresses and passageways along the Wall.

The Great Wall reflects the collision and exchange between the agricultural civilizations and the nomadic civilizations in ancient China. It provides significant material evidence of the far-sighted political strategic thinking and powerful military and national defense forces of the central empires in ancient China, and is an example outstanding for the wonderful architecture, technology and military art of ancient China. It exhibits unparalleled significance as a national symbol to protect the security of the country and its people.

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Criterion (i): The Great Wall, not only because of the ambitious character of the work but also because of the perfection in its construction, is an absolute masterpiece. The only structure built by human hands on this planet visible from the moon, The Wall forms, on the vast scale of a continent, a perfect example of architecture built by humans. integrated into the landscape.

Criterion (ii): During the Chunqiu period, the Chinese imposed their construction patterns and spatial organization in the construction of defensive structures along the northern border. The spread of Sinicism was punctuated by the population mobility required by the Great Wall.

Criterion (iii): The Great Wall of China is an exceptional testimony to the civilizations of ancient China exemplified by portions of rammed earthen fortifications dating back to the Western Han Dynasty preserved in the province of Cam Tuc as well as by the admirable and globally famous construction work of the Ming Dynasty.

Criterion (iv): This complex and historic cultural property is an outstanding and unique example of a complex of military architecture that served a single strategic purpose for 2000 years, but historically The construction history of this work illustrates successive advances in defensive engineering and its adaptation to a changing political landscape.

Criterion (vi): The Great Wall of China is of unparalleled symbolic significance in Chinese history. Its purpose was to protect China from foreign invasion, but also to preserve its culture from the customs of foreign barbarians. Because of its structure alluding to suffering, it is one of the essential references in Chinese literature, found in works such as Tch’en Lin’s “Soldier’s Love Song”. (circa 200 AD) or poems of Do Phuc (712-770) and famous novels of the Ming Dynasty.

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The Great Wall of China comprehensively preserves all its material and spiritual elements, historical and cultural information bearing its outstanding universal value. The complete path of the Great Wall of China is more than 20,000 kilometers long, as well as elements built in different historical periods that form the complex defense system of the site, including walls, fortresses and fortresses. , pass and beacon tower, have been preserved to this day. The methods of building the Great Wall of China at different times and places have been preserved in its entirety, while the unparalleled national and cultural significance of the Great Wall to China is still recognized for to this day. The visual integrity of the Wall at Badaling has been negatively affected by the construction of tourist facilities and cable cars.


The existing elements of the Great Wall of China retain their original location, materials, form, technology and structure. The original layout and composition of the various components of the Great Wall defense system are maintained, while the Great Wall’s perfect integration with the terrain, to form a landscape feature meandering and the military concepts it embodies are all faithfully preserved. The authenticity of the Great Wall of China context is easily affected by the construction of inappropriate tourist facilities.

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Protection and management requirements

The various components of the Great Wall have all been listed as priority sites for protection at the state or provincial level under the Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Protection of Cultural Relics. The Great Wall Protection Regulation issued in 2006 is a specific legal document for the preservation and management of the Great Wall. The Great Wall of China conservation plan series, which is constantly being expanded and improved and covers various levels from master plans to provincial and specific plans, is an important guarantee for the preservation of the Great Wall of China. conservation and comprehensive management of the Great Wall of China. The National Cultural Heritage Administration of China and the provincial-level cultural heritage management agency where parts of the Great Wall are located, are responsible for guiding local governments to take conservation measures. and manage the Great Wall.

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The Outstanding Universal Value of the Great Wall and all its attributes must be protected as a whole, to complete the authentic, complete and permanent preservation of the property. To achieve this goal, consider the characteristics of the Great Wall, including its massive size, its trans-provincial distribution, and the complex conditions for protection and preservation, and the procedures and regulations governing its management. management, conservation interventions to original structure and context, and tourism management will be more systematic, scientific, classified and prioritized. An effective comprehensive management system, as well as specific conservation measures for the original structure and setting, will be established, and a harmonious and sustainable relationship between conservation and sustainable development will be formed. heritage protection with socio-economic and cultural aspects. Meanwhile, research and dissemination of the rich significance of the Heritage’s Outstanding Universal Value will be intensified, in order to fully and sustainably realize the cultural and social benefits of the Great Wall. .

Great Wall Map

Video about the Great Wall of China

See also: UNESCO World Cultural/Natural Heritage Sites

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