Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Great Wall of China

The 'Great wall of China' was built 2000 years ago.  The construction is said to have begun from the 5th century B.C.  The construction of the wall spread over many dynasties and  across many years.  The Great Wall is the only longest human made structure. The wall spans to a distance of about 6,400 kms.    

The construction of the wall was begun by  Qin Shi Huangdi, the first emperor of China during the Qin (Ch'in) Dynasty . In Chinese the wall is called "Wan-Li Qang-Qeng".  The wall was built as a primary defense  against the nomadic tribes.  The king positioned armies near the wall to give warning signals about any attack.   The wall was initially constructed with earth and gravel.  As it was difficult to transport resources to build the wall local resources which were available were used.  Rocks were used near mountain ranges and earth and gravel in plains.  The wall got eroded in due course and was repaired and rebuilt several times by the ruling dynasties.

The present form of the Great Wall was done during the Ming dynasty.  The Ming were defeated by the Mongols in the northern border.  Hence to protect themselves the Ming adopted the strategy of building walls in the northern side.  The Ming construction was of higher quality as they used bricks and stones instead of earth.  The Ming also allocated ample resources to maintain the walls to withstand the frequent attacks. 

The wall was well equipped with watch towers at regular intervals.  The watch towers often housed weapons, food and army.  The steps that form the Great Wall of China are very steep and tall in some areas.  It is said that the Great Wall is visible from the earth's orbit.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Camel - Ship of the Desert

Camel is called the 'Ship of the desert'. Camels are friendly animals and the best suited to live in the desert.  They can travel very long distances. They can live without food and water for about 3-4 days time.  Their strength and endurance have made them valuable to the desert. 

There are two varities of camels the 'Arabian Camel which has a single hump and the Bacterian camel with the double hump.  Camel's milk is a wholesome food. The people in the desert consider camels's milk as a boon to them.  Camel meat is also a delicacy and is also known for its nutritive properties.

Camels are very tall animals.  They stand up to a height of more than 7 feet. Their height protects them from the heat reflection of the hot sand.  They have tear glands and long eyelashes to protect themselves from sand stroms.  Their feet are well padded and insulated to travel in the desert sands.  Their webbed toes prevent them from sinking into the sand. They are herbivorous.  They have a leathery mouth which is suitable to thorny food. Their capacity to recycle water from their bladder helps them to survive without drinking water for longer periods.  Energy producing fats are stored in the camel's hump.