Episode 6 - Great Wall of China
BLOWING UP HISTORY follows new investigations at the Great Wall of China that reveal the ancient secrets of how – and why - it was built.
The Great Wall of China is the biggest man-made structure on the planet, an epic fortification, built to protect one of history’s greatest empires. Constructed over many centuries from over a billion tons of brick, stone and earth, this wall is an estimated 20,000 km long. Its sections laid end to end would stretch from the North Pole to the South Pole.
CGI animations explode apart a section of the battlements to reveal exactly how the Chinese first built this iconic structure, using only compacted earth, in an age before bricks. Exposing its layers, we discover that this was not just a wall, it was a sophisticated and dynamic war machine.
Barracks, storage quarters and signaling towers tell the story of the soldiers who manned this wall and traces of their ingenious weapon systems, from smoke bombs to crossbows, reveal how they defended this immense border from attack.
We follow a team restoring sections of the wall, rediscovering the traditional Chinese techniques to make and fire their own bricks and even create their own mortar using an ancient special ingredient – sticky rice.
We follow Great Wall explorers as they search for uncharted sections of the wall and meet the craftsman passing on the secrets of the Chinese bow makers that have been handed down through his family for generations.
This film reveals the secrets of the ancient Chinese engineers and unravels the mysteries of the most ambitious construction in the history of mankind.