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.
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 attack.
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, 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). 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.
The City Wall represents the wisdom and capacity of Chinese people in old times. So 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, the 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.
Besides, if you want, a bicycle tour on the city wall is surely enjoyable.