A portion of China’s Great Wall in northern Hebei Province collapsed after days of unremitting rains, state-run media reported Thursday. But other reports suggest that construction work made parts of the wall weak.
Following recent rains, large amounts of water ran off the mountains and knocked down that section of the Great Wall. The fallen section spanned around 36 meters, or 118 feet, and has now been removed. Other sections at risk of falling down were reinforced.
According to state media, experts said that hundreds of years of erosion contributed to the collapse of the Dajingmen section of the Great Wall on Monday. They added that the water runoff finally caused it to crumble.
However, a city official told the Daily Telegraph that workers were partly to blame.
“There is an investigation into the causes of the collapse. A number of things may have contributed, including the building work,” the official was quoted as saying.
Many portions of the Great Wall are in a state of disrepair, while some areas have been kept up, in particular around Beijing and other tourist areas.
According to the China Heritage Project at the Australian National University, 1,240 miles of ancient walls in northern Shaanxi Province “are all under threat,” with a 180-mile-long portion of the wall built in the Ming Dynasty disappearing largely “as a result of infrastructural and energy projects.”
In another example, a section of wall also built in the Ming dynasty, in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in northern China, was taken down to allow two sections of road to pass through, while other sections in the region have collapsed, the Heritage Project said.
The Great Wall, one of the few man-made objects visible from space, was built out of materials like brick, stone, wood, and earth in a series of fortifications along an east-to-west line. Several portions were built in the 7th century B.C., but the majority of the structure was rebuilt during the Ming Dynasty to secure China against Manchurian and Mongolian invaders.
The Great Wall is designated a World Heritage site by the United Nations’ cultural arm UNESCO.
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