Xi'an has one of the oldest city walls in China
The Xi'an City Wall is one of the most beautiful landmarks in Xi'an. Going up on the City Wall, you have a beautiful view of the Bell Tower, the Drum Tower, the ancient centre of the city as well as the rest of Xi'an.
Going around the walls, you can see every neighbourhood and just the diversity, everybody is so different and the way they live is so visible. It's one of the great things about Xi'an
ilt in 1370 in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). With a length of 13.74 kilometres, the wall surrounds an area of nine square kilometres, which has been the centre of commercial activities and life for many centuries.
When Zhu Yuanzhang, the first Emperor of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), captured Huizhou, a hermit named Zhu Sheng admonished him that he should 'built high walls, store abundant food supplies and take time to be an Emperor,' so that he could fortify the city and unify the other states. After the establishment of the Ming dynasty, Zhu Yuanzhang followed his advice and began to enlarge the wall built initially during the old Tang dynasty (618 -907), creating the modern Xian City Wall. It's the most complete city wall that has survived in China, as well being one of the largest ancient military defensive systems in the world.
After the extension, the wall now stands 12 meters (40 feet) tall, 12-14 meters (40-46 feet) wide at the top and 15-18 meters (50-60 feet) thick at the bottom. It covers 13.7 kilometers (8.5 miles) in length with a deep moat surrounding it. Every 120 meters, there is a rampart which extends out from the main wall. All together, there are 98 ramparts on the wall, which were built to defend against the enemy climbing up the wall. Each rampart has a sentry building, in which the soldiers could protect the entire wall without exposing themselves to the enemy. Besides, the distance between every two ramparts is just within the range of an arrow shot from either side, so that they could shoot the enemy, who wanted to attack the city, from the side. On the outer side of the city wall, there are 5948 crenellations, namely battlements. The soldiers can outlook and shoot at the enemy. On the inner side, parapets were built to protect the soldiers from falling off.
Since the ancient weapons did not have the power to break through a wall and the only way for an enemy to enter the city was by attacking the gate of the city wall. This is why complicated gate structures were built within the wall. In Xian, the city wall includes four gates and they are respectively named as Changle (meaning eternal joy) in the east, Anding (harmony peace) in the west, Yongning (eternal peace) in the south and Anyuan (forever harmony) in the north. The south gate, Yongning, is the most beautifully decorated one. It is very near to the Bell Tower, center of the city. Important greeting ceremonies organized by the Provincial Government are usually held in the south gate square.
Each city gate has three gate towers: Zhenglou, Jianlou and Zhalou. The most outside is Zhalou, which stands away from the City Wall and is opposite to Zhenglou. It was used to raise and lower the suspension bridge. Jianlou with small windows in the front and flanks was used as a defensive outpost. Zhenglou, in the inner, is the main entrance to the city. The wall connects Jianlou and Zhenglou Towers. The area between them within the wall was called 'Wong Cheng', in which the soldiers stationed. From Wong Cheng, there are sloped horse passages leading to the top of the city wall.
There is a rampart every 120 meters. The ramparts are towers that extend out from the main wall, the top of the rampart being at the same level as the top of the wall. The ramparts were built to allow soldiers to see those enemies who would try to climb the wall. The distance between two ramparts is just within the range of arrow shot from either side. This allowed soldiers to protect the entire wall without exposing themselves to the enemy. They are altogether 98 of them on the wall; each has a sentry building on top of it.
Since the ancient weapons did not have the power to break through a wall and the only way for an enemy to enter the city was by attacking the gate of the city wall. This is why complicated gate structures were built within the wall. InXian, the city wall includes four gates and they are respectively named as Changle (meaning eternal joy) in the east, Anding (harmony peace) in the west, Yongning (eternal peace) in the south and Anyuan (forever harmony) in the north. The south gate, Yongning, is the most beautifully decorated one. It is very near to the Bell Tower, center of the city. Important greeting ceremonies organized by the Provincial Government are usually held in the south gate square.
The gate towers
Each city gate has three gate towers: Zhenglou, Jianlou and Zhalou. The main tower is called Zhenglou. Zhalou is the gate tower with the suspense bridge, and Jianlou is the narrow tower. The Zhalou tower stands away from the wall. It is used to lift and lower the suspense bridge. The Jianlou tower is in the center of the others. Its front and the two outer sides have square windows to shoot arrows from. The Zhenglou tower is the inner one. It is the main entrance to the city. Jianlou and Zhenglou are connected by tunnels, called Wengcheng in which soldiers could be stationed. From the Wengcheng there are also horse passages leading to the top of the wall. These are gradually ascending steps made so that it is easy for war horses to ascend and descend. There are all together 11 horse passages around the city.
The watch towers
A watch tower is located on each of the four corners of the wall. The one at the southwestern corner is round, probably after the model of the imperial city wall of the Tang Dynasty, but the other three are square-shaped. On top of the watch towers there is a corner rampart, higher and larger than the ordinary ramparts. This shows the strategic importance of the corners of the city wall in war times.
Initially, the wall was built with layers of dirt, with the base layer including also lime and glutinous rice extract. Throughout the timeXian City Wall has been restored three times. In 1568, Zhang Zhi (the government officer of that period) was in charge to rebuild the wall with bricks. In 1781, another officer, Bi Yuan, refitted the city wall and the gate towers. More recently (since 1983) the Shaanxi Provincial Government restored the city wall again. A circular park has been built along the high wall and the deep moat. The thriving trees and flowers decorate the classical Chinese architecture of the wall, adding additional beauty to the city ofXian.
Access to the top of the wall can also be gained at the North and West gates, and at all of the smaller gates along the south wall, where landscaping of the area between the wall and moat has provided a pleasant setting for a stroll. At the South Gate bicycles can be rented, and one can ride six kilometres along the wall, including the return trip. Motorized tourist vehicles are also available for the journey. It is open from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm and is attractively lit in the evening.
Xian is surrounded by its original old city wall. It is high and wide which leaves a road on the top which is empty. Perfect for walking or biking. While its a long way to walk around the city on the wall, it is perfect for biking. It is safe as there are no vehicles and the wall is protected, you're not going to fall off. We organize as part of our tours a bike trip on the city wall. You can bike the entire circuit in 1-2 hours or just along part of it if you prefer. You can stop at various viewpoints and look down at the activity below. This can be done during the day or as an evening activity as the wall has lights. Great fun and a chance to work off some of that Chinese food!
like about the Xi'an City Wall is that it gives you a sense of history in Xi'an. I've described it before as being almost romantic, it's large and beautiful. At night, or even during the day, creates a real atmosphere of ancient China and what is a fast growing modern city.
Anyuan Gate, at the end of Welcome Avenue, is the must entry gate to the City from the airport and the central station. According to the historic records, when the honoured guests arrived at the gate, several armored guards would stand on the both sides, chanting "Open the Gate" at the same time and pulling the 2 scarlet doors out, meanwhile, guided by the ladies with lanterns in their hands, the officers would present the "welcoming wines" and issue the "visa" to every guest, then the guests would be allowed to walk on the red carpet, guarded by the officers and ladies to enter the city, then another officer would chop his "visa" with a scarlet seal. This is truly the special welcome ceremony of the Tang Dynasty.
The south gate, named Yongning, is the most beautifully decorated one. It is located next to the Bell Tower, center of the city. Important ceremonies organized by the Provincial Government are usually held in the south gate square.
At night, on the Suspension - bridge Square outside the south gate of the City Wall, a mysterious scene is revealed before your eyes: banners and flags are fluttering, red lanterns are hung. Trumpets are blown; drums are beaten, accompanied by elegant and majestic music. The mighty guards of honor march out to host the guests, followed by civil and military officials, foreign envoys and beauties holding lanterns. Women in the style of Tang Dynasty beauties dance gracefully as they present their honored guests with flowers and fruits.
The classical marching-in ceremony begins. The war drums and the military marches are resumed. The guards of honor start to perform. The envoys shout unanimously, "Our honored guests are kindly invited to enter the gate''. Led by the beauties, the guests walk through the imperial passage, across the suspension bridge and enter the gate. They are expected to participate in the signing ceremony for entering the city within the City Wall. After that, they ascend the City Wall to appreciate the night view of Xi'an.
The classical marching-in ceremony imitating the ancient times introduced by Xi'an City Wall Renovation and Protection Committee is a kind of tourist program devised on the basis of Chinese traditional reception rites and the rites practiced in the Tang Dynasty, it fully demonstrates the hospitality of Xi'an people towards distinguished guests. Joining the ceremony. One can experience personally the elements of the Chinese history and culture. The marching- in ceremony is really a grand ceremony held in the city of rites
padding:5.0000pt 5.0000pt 5.0000pt 5.0000pt ; "">
08:00 to 19:00 (Spring and Summer)