Hadrian's Wall was a defensive fortification in Roman Britain. Begun in 122 AD, during the rule of emperor Hadrian, it was the first of two fortifications built across Great Britain, the second being the Antonine Wall, lesser known of the two because its physical remains are less evident today.
The wall was the most heavily fortified border in the Empire. In addition to its role as a military fortification, it is thought that many of the gates through the wall would have served as customs posts to allow trade and levy taxation.
A significant portion of the wall still exists, having been rescued in the 19th century by John Clayton, who, alarmed at the destruction by quarrying, bought a number of sections.
For much of its length, the wall can be followed on foot by Hadrian's Wall Path or by cycle on National Cycle Route 72. It is the most popular tourist attraction in Northern England.
It was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. English Heritage, a government organisation in charge of managing the historic environment of England, describes it as "the most important monument built by the Romans in Britain".
Hadrian's Wall was likely planned before Roman Emperor Hadrian's visit to Britain in 122. According to restored sandstone fragments found in Jarrow that date from 118 or 119, it was Hadrian's wish to keep "intact the empire," which had been imposed upon him by "divine instruction."
The fragments then announce the building of the wall. It is entirely possible that, on his arrival in Britain in 122, one of the stops on his itinerary was the northern frontier and an inspection of the progress of the wall as it was being built.
Tags: Landscape and travel
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