Stretching over about 90 kilometers, the Jingtai area of the Great Wall, built in the Ming Dynasty in 1599, is now at risk of being swallowed by farmland.
Unlike eastern parts of the Great Wall in Beijing and Hebei, which were mostly constructed using stones and brick, sections in Gansu were largely built using soil and earth. After centuries of erosion from wind and sandstorms, they have become extremely fragile.
Some parts of the wall were reduced to soil ridges due to large-scale farming, and some were used as part of a courtyard to fence in livestock and cultivate dried grass. In addition, the wall has sprouted grass in some places that see little human activity.
The wall was severely damaged in the 1970s and '80s, when farmland was expanded excessively, locals explained. Protection and renovation of the wall restarted when people began paying more attention to historical and cultural sites. In 2006, the wall was put under state protection. In 2015, Gansu established a protection zone spreading 20 meters across both sides of the wall.