«The Chinese wall can be seen from the moon». One of the most famous fake news ever

Yet the spatial quality of the wall continues to be a widespread belief, so much so that it has often been denied even by the agencies that deal with tourism in China. It would be enough, however, to compare the size of the continents, so small when they are photographed by the astronaut on duty, with the tonnage of the Chinese fortification. Its average height is between seven and eight meters, says the Encyclopedia Britannica , while the width is six and a half meters.


On its length, however, we have always wondered. Six thousand kilometers, it was said until a few years ago. In 2009, the kilometers grew to nine thousand, practically as from Rome to Beijing. One should not be surprised, because the wall is not linear but consists of a series of fortifications that are interrupted – exploiting natural barriers like the mountains – and sometimes overlap. In 2012 the latest research by the Beijing administration has counted other pieces of wall, so far escaped the count, and the kilometers have risen to 22 thousand . More than half the earth’s circumference.

Despite this, for a tourist the chances of seeing the wall are not so numerous. The overwhelming majority of foreigners end up in Badaling – an hour and a half from the center of Beijing – settling for a super-crowded tourist site. The most enterprising ones go as far as Jiankou (a stretch of wild wall and not yet restored), or to Mutianyu (less visited than Badaling, but still crowded). The best solution for those who want to invest a whole day and make an unforgettable trek is to walk the stretch between Simatai and Jinshanling, referred to these photos: it is the farthest from Beijing but also for this the most intimate. For those traveling independently, the solution is to take a bus from Beijing “Donghzimen” station

Another chance to see the wall has gone as far as Dunhuang, in the Gansu region, 2400 kilometers from Beijing. Given its current conditions, the experience may be disappointing; it is also extremely unlikely that this trait can be seen from the Moon.