January 19, 2010

The Rice Wall of China

Over 600 years have passed since the construction of Nanjing's city wall, but it still stands. It took 20 years and 200,000 men to build the oldest such surviving structure in China. The defense mechanism stretches for 25 kilometers around the erstwhile capital. I climbed up a set of steep stairs to get on top of the wall near the southern banks of the Yangtse River.

When the Ming Dynasty was established, Nanjing was chosen to be its capital. Construction soon began on a wall to protect it from invaders who would seek to usurp the throne. Legend has it that the wall was partially made out of rice, as an inscription plastered on the side of the fortification reads:

The history books did not record anything about what kind of ingredients used in the cement. It was told that the emperor Zhu Yuanzhang used the polished glutinous rice to build up the City Wall. But the affair still a mysterious.


“Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”

- Michael Jordan -