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As it turns out, the Great Wall of China is even greater than anyone realized. State surveyors measuring the wall found it is more than twice as long as was previously believed. The official new official length — based on the first-ever formal measurement — is 21,196 kilometers long. The previous estimate was about 8,850 km. The project, a joint effort between China’s State Administration of Cultural Heritage and the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping, found the Great Wall stretches through 15 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities. The State Administration of Cultural Heritage released the results based on an archaeological survey done since 2007. Previous estimates of the wall's length were mainly based on historical records. Tong Mingkang, deputy chief, said that the survey revealed a total of 43,721 heritage sites that included stretches of the Great Wall, reports Xinhua.  Imagine the new opportunities for Great Wall hiking and trekking this presents!

Measuring the wall is a tougher task than it at first seems; it is made up of many pieces that often overlap and use a variety of materials ranging from brick to packed earth. First built 2,200 years ago to fend off invaders, it was added to and reinforced many times over the years. The Ming Dynasty additions, with their grey-brick fortifications, are the most recognizable sections of the wall, but are only a part of the overall network. Now, with the need to keep out for foreign invaders long past, the Great Wall is perhaps China’s most iconic attribute. Over the years millions of travelers (foreign and domestic), have visited the Great Wall, and within the last ten years Great Wall hiking and Great Wall trekking has become more and more popular.

In addition to publicizing this new figure, Beijing’s city government also announced that due to overcrowding and the need for preservation, two new Great Wall sections will be opened to the public. The authorities will now open the Huanghuacheng and Hefangkou areas. Beijing's city government will also expand the Mutianyu and Badaling sites in the city's northern suburbs. What this means is that you will now have more opportunities for hiking the Great Wall and for Great Wall trekking, so stay tuned to this site regarding new Great Wall hiking programs!

>> Related new discovery of Great Wall of Mongolia.


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