Some silly blogger recently compared the C&O Canal to the Great Wall of China. I have walked parts of both, so let’s do a comparison.
|C&O Canal||The Great Wall|
|Length||184.5 miles||10,000 li (~4000 miles)|
|Year Started||1836||1368 – Portions of the Great Wall go back to at least 200 B.C., but the wall as currently constructed in its present location was built during the Ming Dynasty.|
|Purpose||Transportation to Ohio||Defense from barbarians|
|Outcome||Ceased operation in 1924.||Manchus bribed gatekeepers in 1644. The Ming Dynasty fell shortly thereafter.|
|Current Status||Tourist attraction mobbed on the weekends.||Tourist attraction mobbed nearly all the time.|
|Admission Cost||$5 per vehicle or $3 per walker/cyclist at Great Falls||45 yuan (~$6) per person at Badaling|
|Visible From Space?||No||Opinions vary, but generally not. And with the smog as bad as it is in China, it’s barely visible from itself.|
There’s no way the C&O Canal measures up in any way. In the words of Richard Nixon, “It is worth coming 16,000 miles just to stand here and see the Wall.” There you have it.
If you are travelling to DC, there are lot of things to see and do without getting anywhere near the C&O Canal. I wouldn't recommend going to China and not seeing the Great Wall. While the canal is a worthy source of local pride, it will hardly ever be the international destination that is the Great Wall.
I have more pictures of the Wall in this Flickr set.