You’ve likely heard of the iconic Great Wall of China and know a fair amount about its scale, length, and history – but have you ever stopped to think about how much it weighs? Many assume that such an immense structure must weigh tons, if not billions of tons even, yet the answer is far more surprising.
If you calculate the approximate number of bricks and the weight of each, the Great Wall of China would weigh over 50,000,000 tons. The Great Wall is considered the heaviest continuous structure on the face of the earth. As so many bricks were used to build the wall, if you put all the bricks side by side, it would go around the equator about 36 times.
No one knows the exact weight of the Great Wall of China, but we have calculated how much it may weigh and why it is the heaviest structure on the earth. Read on to take a closer look of the weight of The Great Wall of China and explore possible explanations as to why it is the heaviest structure on earth.
Table of Contents
- The Great Wall – Heaviest Structure on Earth
- Construction of the Great Wall of China
- Related Questions
The Great Wall – Heaviest Structure on Earth
The Great Wall of China is considered one of the heaviest things on earth. It is a structure that has lasted through the test of time.
Here are some facts about the Great Wall and our calculations to show how heavy we estimate it is:
- Bricks – The Great Wall has approximately 3,873,000,000 bricks. There are no exact numbers, but this is just an estimate of how many bricks were used for the Great Wall. If all these bricks were placed end to end, then all the bricks would loop about 36 times around the equator.
- Brick sizes – Most of the bricks measure 0.37 meters (1.2 feet) long by 0.15 meters (0.5 feet) wide and 0.09 Meters (0.3 feet) thick.
- Cubic Feet and Weight Calculations – We will then calculate the approximate cubic feet per each brick and figure out the weight of the wall as follows:
- 1.2 feet x 0.5 feet x 0.3 feet = 0.18 cubic feet.
- One cubic foot of bricks weighs about 119 pounds or 54 kilos.
- 3,873,000,000 x 0.18 cubic feet per brick = 697,140.000 cubic feet for the entire Great Wall of China.
- 697,140,000 cubic feet x 119 pounds per cubic foot of bricks = 82,959,660,000 pounds
- 82,959,660,000 pounds = 41,479,830 tons
The Great Wall is the heaviest continuous structure on the earth. An average Egyptian Pyramind weighs about 2.5 to 15 tons, but China’s Great Wall weighs far more than that. The Great Wall, by far, is the heaviest continuous structure on the face of the earth.
My calculations for the weight are conservative as I used the weight for b, which is lighter than stone slabs. Today, our bricks may be a bit lighter than the bricks that many of the ancients used so that they may be closer to the weight of a stone slab.
The Great Wall was built so well and has lasted so long; the materials they used have withstood the test of time.
One cubic foot of stone or granite would weigh approximately 168 pounds per square foot. So if we calculate the weight of the Great Wall based on the weight of granite, the weight would be:
- One Cubic Foot of Granite or Stone slab weighs about 168 pounds per square foot.
- 3,873,000,000 x 0.18 cubic feet per brick = 697,140.000 cubic feet for the enter Great Wall of China.
- 697,140,000 cubic feet x 168 pounds = 117,119,520,000 pounds
- 117,119,520,000 pounds = 58,559,760 tons
We believe that the actual weight of the Great Wall is probably between the weight of the brick and the weight of granite, so the exact weight is perhaps close to 50,019,795 tons.
Construction of the Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China is known as “Wan Li Chang Cheng” or 10,000 Li Long Wall. The Great Wall of China was one of civilization’s most ambitious building projects ever undertaken.
The construction of the Great Wall was such a vast undertaking that massive armies of soldiers, peasants, and prisoners were used as workers. It is said that at least 400,000 people died during the wall’s construction. Many of these bodies are buried in or near the wall.
The wall construction started in 220 BC when Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, ordered that many walls along the northern border be joined into a single system to help protect China against the invaders of the north.
The great wall is made mainly of the earth in stone. It stretches from the China seaport of Shanhaiguan to over 3000 miles west of the Gansu Province.
In some locations, the wall overlapped to give extra protection.
Even though the wall started in 220 BC for many years, the wall was in disrepair. The Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644) tirelessly maintained and reconstructed the Great Wall of China. They saw it as a way to help prevent an invasion from the north.
The wall was impregnable for a long time and helped protect the Ming Dynasty from the invaders to their north. The Ming Dynasty also added parts and expanded other parts of the Great Wall.
The Great Wall of China was a vast construction project that lasted centuries. Not just one person or era constructed the wall, but the wall was built over hundreds of years.
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Where Does The Great Wall Of China End?
The Great Wall ends at what is known as the Jianyu Pass; this Jianyu Pass is the westernmost part of the Great Wall and also was known as the “First and Greatest Pass Under Heaven.” Some called it is the gates at the Jianyu Pass, the Gate of Travelers, and the Gate of Sighs.
How Long Did It Take to Build the Whole Great Wall of China?
The Great Wall of China took over 2,000 years to build. The building span over many Chinese Dynasties or for about 22 centuries. The construction of the wall ended in the Ming Dynasty in 1644. The Great Wall is one of the most significant human-made construction projects globally; the Great Wall is over 21,196 kilometers or 13,171 miles. There are over 25,000 watchtowers scattered throughout the Great Wall structure.
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