City Wall

Ciey Wall, Xian
Before the first Ming Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang ascended the throne, a hermit scholar who named Zhu Sheng advises him: "Build high walls, lay in stock food grains, and delay accession to the throne". Zhu Yuanzhang took his advice. Shortly after the establishment of the Ming Dynasty, a nation-wide construction of walls began. The city wall in Xi'an was constructed on the foundation of the walls around the Tang Dynasty Forbidden City.

The city wall is very tall and fortified. It is 12 meters high, 12-14 meters wide on the top, and 15-18 meters wide at the base. Its circumference is 13.7 kilometers and the area earth, rammed layer upon layer. The base layer constituted the blended substance of earth, quicklime, and glutinous rice extract, which made the wall extremely strong and firm. Along the outer ridges of the wall there is a range of crenellated parapets which were built to protest soldiers from falling off while walking around on top of the wall.

The ramparts
Rampart and Watch Tower on City Wall
There is a rampart every 120 meters jutting out of the wall. The ramparts were built for the soldiers to watch and kill those enemies who would climb the wall. Since the crossbows in the Ming Dynasty could only shoot as far as 60 meters, the distance between two ramparts is just within the range of arrow shot from either of the two. There are altogether 98 of them on the wall, each having a sentry building on top of it.

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, and the other three are square-shaped. On the top of the watch towers there is a corner-rampart, higher and larger than the sentry building on the ramparts. This shows the strategic importance of the corners of the city wall in war times.

The three gate towers
Main Gate Tower on City Wall
In each side of the city wall there is a city gate which consists of three gate towers, called Zheng Lou (Main Gate Tower); Jian Lou (Arrow Tower);  and Zha Lou (Gate Tower with a Drawbridge). These gates in ancient times were very important strategic points because they were the only way to go into and out of town.

Zha Lou stands away from the wall and is used to lift and lower the drawbridge. The drawbridge, once lifted, would cut off the way both in and out of the city. Jian Lou stands in between of the other two. There are square windows in the front and on the two outer sides to shoot arrows from. Zheng Lou is the inner one and is also the formed a compound called Wong Cheng, where the main forces of the guarding army were usually stationed. From Wong Cheng, there are also horse passages leading to the top of the wall. These are gradually ascending steps that make it easy for chargers to ascend and descend. There are altogether 11 horse passages around the city. There is a wide and deep moat running around the city wall. In ancient times, when weapons were primitive, the moat could effectively prevent the enemy from attacking the city. Thus the Ming Dynasty city wall formed a complex and well-organized defense system

Historic value
Xian City Wall
The city wall of Xi'an is the most complete city wall that has survived through China's long history. It is a true display of the ability and wisdom of the working people in ancient times and provides invaluable material for the study of history, military science, and architecture of the Ming Dynasty. The local government has made repairs on the wall, restoring it to its original grandeur. The wall has been included in the list of China’s first batch of cultural relics under State protection.

Opening Hours: Spring & Summer: 08:00-21:30
               Fall & Winter: 08:00-19:00
Ticket Price: CNY 40

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