21,196.18 km: latest survey unveils the accurate length of the Great Wall

China’s existing Great Wall, which first kicked off construction more than 2,200 years ago, is 21,196.18 kilometers long, according to the latest survey results released by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage (国家文物局 SACH) on Tuesday.

An archeological survey jointly conducted by the SACH and the former State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping since 2007 found that the Great Wall structures span the country’s 15 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, namely:

Beijing, Tianjin

Hebei Province, Shanxi Province, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Liaoning Province, Jilin Province, Heilongjiang Province, Shandong Province, Henan Province, Shaanxi Province, Gansu Province, Qinghai Province

Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region

A total of 43,721 heritage sites were identified nationwide during the survey, including stretches of the wall, defense works and passes, as well as other related Great Wall facilities and ruins, Tong Mingkang, SACH deputy chief, said at Tuesday’s press briefing.

The total length of Great Wall in Beijing is about 600 km, including the Great Wall of Ming Dynasty and early Great Wall.

Beijing section of Ming Great Wall is about 550 km, early Great Wall in Beijing was mainly built in Qi Dynasty.

This was the first time for such figures to be released, as a preliminary survey in 2008 only showed that the Great Wall structures built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) extended more than 8,850 km.

The Great Wall was first built more than 2,200 years ago to fend off foreign invaders, and was reinforced and extended many times during later dynasties.