As the Starting Point of the Silk Road, it was once the imperial capital of 13 ancient dynasties, Xian is the best witness of China's long history and time honored cultures. The city presents the unique amalgamation of stunningly ancient and modern architectures, allowing tourists from all over the world to dive into the richness and distinctiveness of its cultural heritage.
The natives of Xian always say that " journey to Xian is not complete without visiting to the Ancient City Wall" which has been stretched round to guard the inner city since the 13th century. Even nowadays, the massive, ancient City Wall is still strong and solid. It is the best-preserved city wall in China, and also one of the oldest intact military fortifications in the world.
It is the best-preserved ancient city wall in China with the largest scale. While you visit city wall, you can cycle on it. The best time to visit city wall is morning or after sunset.
Brief Introduction & History of Xi'an City Wall:
The city wall of Xi'an is the landmark of Xi'an, and it is also the most well-preserved city wall in China. The city walls are imposing and built to keep out bandits and enemies. The massive walls measure 39 feet (12 m)high and 52.5 feet(16 m) wide at the base, tapering to between 39 feet and 46 feet(12 to 14 m); they are 8.5 miles(13.74 km)in circumference. Towers at each corner of the walls have defensive towers jutting out along the length of the walls. The surviving walls, built on Tang dynasty foundations, date to the Ming dynasty and were built during the 14th century. Parts of the wall have been destroyed and the wall is incomplete but many sections remain or have been rebuilt, you can get up on the walls at any gate at the compass points. The scenery at the south gate is the best.
Where to visit & The structure of Xi'an City Wall:
Xi'an city wall has 13.74 kilometres long and it consists of a series of ancient military facilities including Moat, Drawbridge, Gate Tower, Arrow Tower, Main Tower, Turret, Watch Tower, and Battlements.
Gate Tower, Arrow Tower and Main Tower:
In the Cold Weapons Age, when weapons were in the backward situation, the fortifications were the only access, so people would regard it as the key point of defence. There are four gates in the east, west, south and north of Xi'an, including the Gate Tower, Arrow Tower and Main Tower. The Gate Tower is in the outside, and the function of the gate tower is lifting the drawbridge; The Arrow Tower has square windows in the middle, which provides security to one of the Xi'an walls; the Main Tower is the main gate of the city.
Every corner of Xi'an's city wall has a corner platform protruding from the outside of the city. Except that the southwest corner is round, the other corners are square. The construction of a larger "corner tower" on the podium shows its important position in the war.
There are 18 gates in Xi'an City Wall, clockwise from Yongning Gate, Zhuque Gate, Wumu Gate, Hnaguang Gate, Anding Gate, Yuxiang Gate, Shangwu Gate, Anyuan Gate, Shangde Gate, Liberation Gate, Shangqinmen, Shangqinmen, Chaoyang Gate, Zhongshan Gate, Changle Gate, Jianguomen, Peace Gate and Wenchang Gate. Among them, the gate beside the walls were all built during the Republic of China.
Yongning Gate and South Gate of Xi'an City Wall. Built-in 582, the second year of the Sui Dynasty, it is the oldest one and the longest in use among all Xi'an city gates.
Heping Gate is located between Wenchang Gate and Jianguo Gate of the South Wall. It was built in 1953 and was named to express the yearning for world peace. It is on the same north-south axis with Xi'an railway station and Great Wild Goose Pagoda.
The gate is on the west side of the south wall of Xi'an City Wall, originally built at the second year of Emperor Suiwen's reign. Into Hanguang Gate there are Hong Lu Si, in charge of state affairs, and Dashe, sacrificing gods of grain and agriculture. Hanguang Gate borders an execution ground to the west.
Anding Gate (The West Gate)—the West Gate of Xi’an City Wall, built-in 582, the second year of the Sui Dynasty. Anding means that western frontier will be stable and peaceful.
Anyuan Gate (the North Gate) in the north of Xi'an City Wall. In 1374, the seventh year of Hongwu, Xi'an City Wall was extended to the north, and the North Gate was constructed. And a small town was built outside the gate. The gate was named to wish Northern frontier stable forever.
Changle Gate (the East Gate)—the East Gate of Xi'an City Wall. It was built in 1374, the seventh year of Hongwu. Facing to Nanjing, it was be-named Changle, meaning that the reign of the Ming Dynasty would last forever with joy.
Jianguo Gate—in the most east of the South Gate. It was built on 1986, named for Jianguo Road.