Great Wall Of China Damaged Beyond Repair By Builders Looking For Shortcut

Imperial China's ancient enemies were not as successful as these construction workers.


Tom Hale


Tom Hale

Senior Journalist

Tom is a writer in London with a Master's degree in Journalism whose editorial work covers anything from health and the environment to technology and archaeology.

Senior Journalist

Jinshanling Great Wall of China, located in Hebei province

Many parts of the Great Wall of China have disappeared or are falling into ruin. 

Image credit: crystal51/

The Great Wall of China warded off marauding nomadic tribes for centuries, but it wasn’t enough to stop these time-conscious builders. A small part of the Great Wall has been severely damaged by construction workers who were looking to make a shortcut through the monument. 

Two people have been arrested for using machinery to create a gap through a portion of the Great Wall near Youyu in central Shanxi province, according to state-owned newspaper China Daily


Local police charged the pair with destroying a cultural relic after receiving a report of the damage on August 24. They managed to locate the suspects by following a trail from the damaged wall leading to neighboring Horinger County. 

section of great wall of China damaged by construction workers
The section of the damaged wall photographed by local police.
Image credit: Youyu County People's Government

The Great Wall of China is a series of ancient walls and fortifications that span more than 20,000 kilometers (12,427 miles) across northern China. It was continuously built over the course of centuries, from the third century BCE to the 17th century CE, as part of a military project to defend Imperial China against invasions from northern nomadic tribes.

Given its huge historical and architectural significance, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. 

When you picture the Great Wall of China, you’re probably imagining the tall brick walls and picturesque fortifications that were built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 CE), known as the Ming Great Wall. 


However, this is just one of the aspects of the monument. Other parts of the wall are less grand and many parts of the older wall have crumbled over the centuries. Even the Ming-era wall has seen better days.

It’s been reported that 30 percent of the Ming Great Wall has disappeared or fallen into ruin. While natural erosion is a factor, it’s also fallen victim to reckless human activity – just like this latest duo of troublesome builders. 


  • tag
  • China,

  • history,

  • vandalism,

  • Great Wall of China,

  • Ming Dynasty