The Great Wall, or Chang Cheng in Chinese, is massive. It begins in the east at the Yellow Sea, travels near China’s capital, Beijing, and continues west through numerous provinces. For thousands of miles, it winds like a snake through China’s varied terrain. Smaller walls extend from the main wall. According to conservative estimates, the Great Wall’s length is approximately 2,400 miles, its thickness ranges from 15-30 feet wide, and it reaches in height to about 25 feet. For many centuries, the Great Wall has been considered one of the
The Jiayu Pass , located in Gansu province, is the western terminus of the Ming Great Wall. Although Han fortifications such as Yumen Pass and the Yang Pass exist further west, the extant walls leading to those passes are difficult to trace. From Jiayu Pass the wall travels discontinuously down the Hexi Corridor and into the deserts of Ningxia , where it enters the western edge of the Yellow River loop at Yinchuan . Here the first major walls erected during the Ming dynasty cuts through the Ordos Desert to the eastern edge of the Yellow River loop. There at Piantou Pass ( t 偏 頭 關 , s 偏 头 关 , Piāntóuguān ) in Xinzhou , Shanxi province, the Great Wall splits in two with the "Outer Great Wall" ( t 外 長城 , s 外 长城 , Wài Chǎngchéng ) extending along the Inner Mongolia border with Shanxi into Hebei province, and the "inner Great Wall" ( t 內 長城 , s 內 长城 , Nèi Chǎngchéng ) running southeast from Piantou Pass for some 400 km (250 mi), passing through important passes like the Pingxing Pass and Yanmen Pass before joining the Outer Great Wall at Sihaiye ( 四海冶 , Sìhǎiyě ), in Beijing's Yanqing County .