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Iconic Structure of the Great Wall - Duokou

Hailed as one of the most magnificent engineering feats in the world, the Great Wall features a wide variety of sophisticated structures. One of the most recognizable is the crenels spreading all over the wall. The crenel refers to the opening on the wall, built outside the wall for defense and attack. The crenel features a saw-shape and short. Those who do not know about the crenels on the wall call them Chnegchi, just because they look like some well arranged teeth on the wall.

Duokou on Great Wall

The crenel is about 80cm in height and 200cm in width. Underneath the crenel there is usually a watching hole or Leishi hole or shooting hole. The top of the crenel is designed with a triangle shape to prevent rain erosion. The crenels play an important role in the defensive system of the Great Wall. As a part of the Great Wall, they are used for both defense and attack. When the enemies attack the wall, the defensive soldiers can shoot arrows to defense themselves beside the crenels from a high point. In terms of defense, the soldiers can hide behind the crenels in case they are exposed to the arrows from the enemies.

The crenels are referred to in the documents left by QiJiguang - a very famous supervisor of the Ming Dynasty Great Wall - who mentioned all sections of the wall should be equipped with crenels.

Crenels at Jizhen section are kind of different from the other sections of the wall. They are built with sharp bricks shaped as triangle. The triangle-shaped bricks are used to build the Great Wall to ensure no matter what angle the soldiers look out, the angle is about 45 degrees. This design highly widens the viewing and attacking range. Moreover, the enemies look from below, the angle is still the same. In this way, the defense of the Great Wall is greatly enhanced to ensure the defense soldiers are at lower risk of being shot by the arrows. The crenels can be traced back to early Qing dynasty, back then, it was named as Zhidie, meaning the teeth-shaped short wall. Different from the Ming Dynasty wall, the crenels were referred as the wall itself in ancient times of China.

To sum it up, the crenels are an integrated part of the Great Wall.