I thought it was a clever subject for a travel article. In “Walls to walls” Brian Johnston listed and gave details about 10 famous ones including The Great Wall of China. I was also familiar with Jerusalem’s Western Wall, also called The Wailing Wall. There were 4 walls on Johnston’s list that I’ve been to: the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Berlin Wall, Hadrian’s, and the Roll of Honor in Australia’s War Memorial in Canberra. There is one near a destination Ruth & I are considering–Sacsayhuaman (Johnston slyly says this Incan temple wall is pronounced “sexy woman”). There were 3 walls I had never heard of–Hwaseong, the Great Zimbabwe, and the Great Wall of Los Angeles. Brian Johnston tells readers that the last one containing the world’s longest mural is in a flood control channel north of Hollywood. It sounds like what began as graffiti but is now considered urban art. I will only see it if convenient. The other 2 unknowns require international travel to Zimbabwe and Korea.
This subject got me to thinking about historic walls, which are all over the planet. I was shocked at the number of walls in France and Germany but then thought about how many medieval towns were surrounded by defensive walls that at least partially survive. Quebec City’s ramparts, now a big tourist attraction, are the only fortified city walls left in northern North America. I googled historic walls and was blown away by how much interest there is in walls if the lists of them on Wikipedia are any indication. I found a 2016 article, “A World of Walls”, that appeared in The Atlantic and addressed Clinton and Obama criticism of Trump for wanting to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. The article showed the border fence at Naco, Arizona. A few years ago at Organ Pipe National Monument, which is 254 miles west of Naco, I asked a ranger if it was safe to visit Sonoyta, a town across the border in Mexico. He told me without a hint of irony that Sonoyta was perfectly safe because a drug cartel is in charge. The Atlantic article reminded me of the chilling effect of seeing so much of the wall between Brownsville, Texas, and Matamoros, Mexico, when Ruth & I visited the Sabal Palm Grove Sanctuary recently. Ruth & I have visited several communities that were once encircled by walls for defensive purposes. Our favorite is in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Wikipedia’s list of cities with defensive walls is staggering. One website listed walls currently under construction or proposed, including one between Egypt and Gaza. A border wall between Turkey and Syria will soon be a reality. A wall between Russia and Estonia is in the planning stage.
I started wondering how Wall Street got its name. I was not surprised when I learned that Dutch settlers erected a wall where this financial hub now stands to keep out the British and pirates. Never used for its intended purpose, it did give Wall Street its name.