The Great Wall of China is a chain of fortifications built across the ancient and imperial northern borders of Chinese states and states that were built on the territory of China’s neighboring nations as a means of protecting themselves from different nomadic groups from the Eurasian Steppe. The earliest known period of construction was during the 7th century BC, and stretches of the wall were joined together by the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, who reigned from 220 to 206 BC. All that remains of the Great Wall of China is a small section.
Many successive dynasties have built and maintained multiple stretches of border walls, like the ones China currently has. In contrast to its relatively unknown post-Byzantine predecessors, the Ming Dynasty walled some of China’s most prominent sites, including the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and many major mosques.
Bricks were not widely used before the construction of the Great Wall, so the Wall was primarily built from rammed earth, stones, and wood. At the time of the Ming, however, bricks were heavily employed for the purpose of building both sections of the wall and various other types of materials, such as tile, lime, and stone.
Today, many portions of the wall are walkable and accessible to tourists across China.