The Great Wall of China, one of the most iconic and awe-inspiring architectural marvels in human history, stretches across the vast expanse of northern China like a dragon’s spine, winding through rugged mountains, deserts and plains. Built over centuries and dynasties, this colossal fortification serves not only as a defence against invading forces but also as a symbol of China’s rich history and enduring civilization. That symbol was damaged last month when two workers used an excavator to create a shortcut through it.
According to the BBC, the workers – a 38-year-old man and 55-year-old woman – were arrested after the incident was reported to the police in northern province of Shanxi on August 24.
They were trying to widen an existing cavity to reduce the distance they had to travel.
State broadcaster CCTV reported on Monday that the suspects had caused “irreversible damage” to the Ming-era wall, which was described as a “relatively intact” section of significant research value.
Images on Chinese state TV showed the aftermath of the scene, where a dusty road had been cut through a long, raised section of ground that appeared to be the remnants of the ancient barrier.
The photos were posted by police department at Youyu County in Shanxi province. The police said that the damaged section of the Great Wall belongs to the 32nd Great Wall established in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
The Great Wall has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1987.
It is split into sections that in total stretch for thousands of kilometres. The construction first began in the third century BC and continued for centuries.
The Great Wall draws millions of visitors from around the world who come to marvel at its grandeur and appreciate its historical significance.