Actually the Great Wall was formed by castles and fortresses. These defensive constructions had been used since the late primitive society period in China. Their preventive effectiveness was recognized in the feudal era. The rudiment of the Great Wall was appeared in the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC – 476 BC), the best part was the Square Wall of Chu State in what now we called Henan Province. When later in the Warring States Era, walls were built in the western part of Wei State and Zhangshui (漳水) area of Zhao State. At that time these defense walls had provided great functions to bar the enemies.
The construction of the Great Wall was vital for the building up and expansion of the Qin's territory. It isn't difficult to see that without the Great Wall, the Qin would have to deploy large military forces to the north to prevent the Hun army's harassment, and they would be so tired to beat the six states in order to unify the Chinese land. The Wall area just needed much less number of soldiers to guard that this could enough to avoid the Huns' entering.
The Great Wall of Zhao State was built of earth but not quite strong. The Zhao's army often failed to expel the Huns though their forces were quite powerful. At the time of Zhao Dao Xiang Emperor (赵悼襄王, reigned 236 BC – 224 BC), his forces had failed again. General Li Mu (李牧) was ordered to defend the north. Li provided the best possible food for the soldiers, beef was the main diet. "When the Huns want to loot, all the soldiers have to make all the cattle and horses into safe area of the Wall, and kill the looters !" He commanded. The Huns didn't find anything they wanted when they came, so they fled back. But this still not defeated the barbaric army after all. A few years later, Li chose best chariots, war horses and tough soldiers, and trained them. At last they beat the Huns and other northern tribes.
In early Han Dynasty, the Huns took the advantages of the civil wars fought in China and the badly repaired Great Wall to invade the nation. They killed and looted a lot in the south of the Wall. But the Han's emperors had adopted appeasement policies and betrothed a Han princess to the Hun King Chanyu, as well as contributed gifts to the nomadic race. Later, capable generals Cheng Bushi, Li Guang and Huo Qubing, to name a few, had successfully expelled the Huns from the Chinese soil. The historical function of military defense of the Great Wall had come to an end when the Han Wu Emperor (156 BC – 87 BC) drove out the Hun forces to the north of the desert, the repair of Qin's Great Wall and the building of the Outer Great Wall.
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