Thursday, July 05, 2007

Wall Versus Canal

He who has not climbed the Great Wall is not a true man.- Chinese Proverb


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
Length184.5 miles
10,000 li (~4000 miles)
Year Started1836
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.
PurposeTransportation to Ohio
Defense from barbarians
OutcomeCeased operation in 1924.
Manchus bribed gatekeepers in 1644. The Ming Dynasty fell shortly thereafter.
Current StatusTourist 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.


Jeff and Charli Lee said...

Wow, very impressive!

It's like the history channel without all that pesky channel flicking.

Mooselet said...

I'm tellin' ya, they built it to keep the rabbits out!

Elizabeth said...

Wow, that's just amazing. Love the pictures!!

Sue T. said...

I find it just a tad depressing that there's a freakin' Starbucks at the Great Wall of China.

yellojkt said...

There is also a Starbucks within the Forbidden City, but we didn't run across it. There has been a backlash against non-Chinese businesses within the cultural sites.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

Amazing that you have seen and "walked" the Great Wall....What a fantastic thing to have experienced, CONGRATULATIOBS!

I am here from Michele's this early morning, just before I am going to my bed, to sleep!