Xi’an City Wall was constructed as a fortress in the 14th century Ming Dynasty, under the reign of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang. The current city wall is an enhancement of the old Tang Dynasty structure, as a result of the emperor's wall building campaign.
Why Ming Dynasty City Wall is special
Xi’an Ming Dynasty City Wall represents the wisdom and capacity of Chinese people in old times. It offers a perfect platform for the experts to study the history, military science and architecture at that time. And dividing the city into inner and outer parts, Ming Dynasty City Wall serves as a marvelous landmark in the downtown of Xi'an. Nowadays, it is more a pride than a historical site to the locals and more and more outsiders begin to show their interest in it.
Ming Dynasty City Wall highlights
As a fortress, the city wall is originally designed to protest the intruders, thus only each side of the rectangular wall has a gate, and each corner of the wall has an imposing watchtower. Between those watchtowers are smaller lookouts in the form of projecting ramparts. They are spaced at 120 meter intervals, assuring that arrows can reach any point along the wall where the enemy might be attacking.
Ming Dynasty City Wall features grand size in the history. The sloped, rectangular wall is 14 kilometers in length and encloses the old center of Xi'an. However, and the southern half of the city wall, running over 5 kilometers (3 miles), has been significantly restored and rebuilt. The height of the Xi'an City Wall of today averages 12 meters (40 feet).
Located in the central area of Xi'an city, the Xi'an City Wall is 12 meters in height and 12-14 meters in width on the top and 15-18 meters at bottom. The City Wall includes four gates, respectively named Changle (eternal joy) in the east, Anding (harmony peace) in the west, Yongning (eternal peace) in the south and Anyuan (forever harmony) in the north. In ancient times, the gates have a strategic role to play since they were the only way to go in and out of the town. And each gate consists of three towers: the gate tower, the narrow tower and the main tower. And tunnels connect the narrow tower and main tower. From the tunnels there are also passages for war horses. And on the four corners of the City Wall stand watch towers, which play a significant role in the war.
Roadway on the wall
There is an 11 meter (30 feet) wide roadway on top of the wall. It was designed to let large number of soldiers move rapidly to any section being attacked. Today, the roadway is a promenade loved by both locals and tourists. Besides, if you want a bicycle tour on the city wall is surely enjoyable.