How Was The Great Wall of China Defended?
The Great Wall could not defend against all invaders, of course – some just chose to scale the wall.Â However, it was next to impossible to bring horses in or heavy / bulky stolen goods out.
How Different Parts of The Great Wall of China Were Defended
Great Wall Gates
The most vulnerable sections of the Great Wall were the gates, necessary to facilitate trade in and out of China. Â These were heavily fortified, and took several forms:
- One large to enormous gate
- A ‘wengchang’ or trap between an inner and outer gate
- A gate leading into a labyrinth / small fortress
Depending on when it was built and its location, the gates ranged from simple thick doors to enormous timber doors with iron bolts & locking rings.Â Many sat under a tower to allow better warning of attack and house additional archers & soldiers.
Watchtowers & Battlements
Watchtowers at intervals along the Great Wall provided safe housing for sentries and additional soldiers in the case of direct attack on the wall.Â Battlements were narrow slits on the outside and wide on the inside to allow a wide shot angle for archers.
Was The Great Wall of China Really ‘Defended’?
The Great Wall could not prevent a determined enemy from entering China.Â Earlier versions of the wall could be broken through at more vulnerable gates, and while the Ming Dyansty great wall may have been strong enough to repel any invasion, it was opened from within.
However, the Great Wall in all of its forms did at least slow down invaders, provide ample warning of any attack, and prevent nomadic raiders from bringing horses in or goods out.
All About The Great Wall of China
- History of The Great Wall of China - A history of the Great Wall of China
- Facts About The Great Wall of China - Frequently asked questions & other facts about the Great Wall of China
- Great Wall of China Map - Maps of the Great Wall of China
- Pictures of The Great Wall of China - Assorted pictures of the Great Wall of China
- Great Wall of China Resources - Strongly recommended articles about the Great Wall of China