Walls have been built since ancient times, for various purposes: to mark borders, to keep enemies out or to keep people in. Aside from that, in more recent times walls have also been built to serve as memorials and structures of art. An odd choice, perhaps, but no matter what purpose they serve, walls dominate the landscape wherever they stand.
So, tell me: how many of these famous walls do you recognize?
10. Wall of Ston
The Walls of Ston are a series of defensive stone walls situated on the peninsula Peljesac in southern Croatia. At the peninsula’s narrowest point, just before it joins the mainland, a wall was build from the towns of Ston to Mali Ston. The 5.5 kilometer (3.5 mile) long wall that links these two small communities was completed in the 15th century, along with its 40 towers and 5 fortresses.
9. Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a national war memorial in Washington, D.C. It is often described as the most moving memorial in the city, the Vietnam Memorial stands as tribute to those who died or went missing, intended to transcend political controversy in remembrance of the soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
8. Walls of Troy
Troy is a legendary city in what is now northwestern Turkey, made famous in Homer’s epic poem, the Iliad. According to Iliad, this is where the Trojan War took place. The archaeological site of Troy contains several layers of ruins. The layer Troy VIIa was probably the Troy of Homer and has been dated to the mid- to late-13th century BC.
7. Hadrian’s Wall
Hadrian’s Wall was built by the Romans to protect their colony Britannia from the tribes in Scotland. It stretches for 117 kilometers (73 miles) across the north of England from the Irish Sea to the North Sea. Construction started in 122 AD following a visit by Roman Emperor Hadrian, and was largely completed within six years. The wall was garrisoned by around 9,000 soldiers, including infantry and cavalry.
6. Berlin Wall
Construction of the Berlin Wall began in 1961. It was a desperate but effective move by East Germany to stop East Berliners escaping from the Soviet-controlled East German state into the West of the city, which was then occupied by the Americans, British and French. During the Wall’s existence, around 5,000 people attempted to escape circumventing the wall, with estimates of the resulting death toll varying between 98 and 200.
5. Great Zimbabwe Walls
The Great Zimbabwe, is a complex of stone ruins spread out over a large area in modern-day Zimbabwe, which itself is named after the ruins. The word “Great” distinguishes the site from the many hundred small ruins, known as Zimbabwes, spread across the country. Built by indigenous Bantu people, the construction started in the 11th century and continued for over 300 years. At its peak, estimates are that Great Zimbabwe had as many as 18,000 inhabitants.
Sacsayhuamán is an Inca walled complex high above the city of Cusco in Peru. The imperial city Cusco, was laid out in the form of a puma, the animal that symbolized the Inca dynasty. The belly of the puma was the main plaza, the river Tullumayo formed its spine, and the hill of Sacsayhuamán its head. There are three parallel walls built in different levels with lime stones of enormous sizes.
3. Walls of Babylon
The Walls of Babylon, the city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, was one of the original wonders mentioned by Antipater of Sidon. Constructed around 575 BC it was part of the famous Walls of Babylon. Both the gate and walls were constructed of blue glazed tiles with alternating rows of bas-relief dragons and aurochs. In 1983, Saddam Hussein started both a restoration and new constructions on top of the old ruins.
2. Western Wall
The Western Wall, sometimes referred to as the Wailing Wall is a famous Jewish religious site located in the Old City of Jerusalem. Just over half the wall, including its 17 courses located below street level, dates from the end of the Second Temple period, being constructed around 19 BC by Herod the Great. The remaining layers were added from the 7th century onwards.
1. Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China built, rebuilt, and maintained between the 5th century BC and the 16th century to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire from the attacks of nomadic tribes from the north. Several walls have been built that were referred to as the Great Wall. One of the most famous wall is the one built between 220–206 BC by the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang but little of that wall remains. The majority of the existing wall were built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD).