Below is a description of the Great Wall of China by Romyn Hitchcock from 1893 with illustrations drawn from his own photographs. What makes this account so interesting is that it still preceded the Boxer Uprising and a number of events in Chinese history which left permanent marks of the Great Wall. Also, Hitchcock talks about the lack of prehistoric archeological sites in China in a few decades history will prove him completely wrong.
Few relics remain in the great empire of China in evidence of an antiquity of race or culture of six thousand years. Tradition fixes the date of its foundation in the year B.C. 3322.
We know that many centuries are required for the development of a language, and the ancient literature of China is alone evidence of a long period of culture preceding it. But there are no great monuments in existence, no treasures of archeology buried and preserved in the rich alluvium of the plains, or on the line of earliest migration in the loess of Shensi and Mongolia, which antedate the written literature. Time and floods, changing seasons, fire and devastating war, have done their work well in the empire.
An ancient feudalism has left its vestiges in the walls and ramparts of ruined cities scattered over the land. These are found far north of the Chinese boundary. I have seen them even in the interior of Eastern Siberia, where the original wall thrown up by the Chinese serves as the rampart of a Russian military town. In early times, no doubt, such walls were built by feudal chieftains or princes; but later, and at the present day, they are for the defense of cities under government control. The great cities Peking, Tientsin, Shanghai, Nanking, Canton, and a host of others familiar to our ears, are thus protected.
Read on The Great Wall of China...
The Great Wall - UNESCO World Heritage Centre
Great Wall of China
Great Wall of China - Wikipedia
The Great Wall @ National Geographic Magazine
Great Wall China Pictures
Great Wall of China on Encyclopedia.com