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Watercolor paintings, 6" x 8"

The Distance of Blue

Walls of the World: Past, Present and Future

1. The Great Wall of China

Constructed by Emperor Qin Shi Huang 221-207 B.C.

Length: 21,196 km (13,171 mi)

Over 400,000 people died during the wall's construction; many of these workers were buried within the wall itself. Over 10 million people visit the Great Wall every year.


2. Hadrian’s Wall

Constructed in AD 122

Length: 117.5 km (73.0 mi)

The purpose of the wall was to keep intact the empire, it was used as a political tool by Hadrian to reflect the power of Rome. Hadrian's Wall lies entirely within England and has never formed the Anglo-Scottish border.

3. The Berlin Wall

Constructed by the GDR in 1961, demolished in 1990.

Length: 155 km (96.3 mi)

In its lifetime approximately 5,000 people attempted to escape over, or under the wall with an estimated death toll ranging from 140 to more than 200.


4. Belfast Peace Line

Construction began in 1969, in 2016 the first wall came down

Length: Placed end-to-end, they would stretch to over 34 km (21.1 mi)

A series of barriers were erected to curb escalating violence between Catholic and Protestant neighbourhoods. It’s been 20 years since peace was declared but most of the walls still stand.


5. The Israel Palestine Separation Wall

Construction by the Israeli government began in 2000

Length: 708 km (440 mi) upon completion

A controversial anti-terrorist barrier between Israel and the West Bank, which the International Court of Justice has ruled violates international law with 85% cutting into Palestinian areas.


6. U.S. Border Wall Prototypes, California

Trump’s new 30-feet tall prototypes near San Diego were showcased in 2018 costing $33m. The total length of the border between Mexico and the United States is 3,201 km (1,989 mi), existing barriers cover more than 930km 580 (mi). Since 1994, about 10,000 people have died in their attempt to cross the border.

Thanks to Kieran Sinclair, E. Worth (Associated Press), John Irvine, Ori and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection for use of source imagery.

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