The Tang Dynasty (618 - 907) had originally built city
walls around Xian. As the cultural, economical, and political
center, Xian was a city of strategic military importance.
It was the city of 13 ancient Chinese Dynasties, including
Tang Dynasty. Therefore, great city walls were constructed
to protect Xian.
Later on, during the Ming Dynasty, the City Wall of Xian
was built again (expanded), on the foundation of the Ming
Dynasty walls, and it took four years, from 1374 to 1378
to built the walls. Zhu YuanZhang is the first emperor of
the Ming Dynasty. A hermit named Zhu sheng advised him to
"build high walls, store abundant food, and take time
being an emperor".
Zhu YuanZhang followed this advice, and built the Xian
cit wall along with city walls of many other ancient cities
in China; however, the Xian city wall is the best preserved.
Xian City Wall
Because of its strategic importance, the Xian city walls
were built tall and wide, and was well fortified. The total
perimeter of the city wall is 11.9km, and each side measures:
- East wall - 2.59km
- West Wall - 2.63km
- North Wall - 3.24km
- South wall - 3.44km
The city walls enclose an area of 11.5 square kilometers.
The city wall itself measures 12 to 15 meters tall, 12 to
14 meters wide at the top, and 15 to 18 meters wide at the
Tour Xian City Wall & Xian Gate
On each wall there is a city gate, and each city gate has
three gate towers. The four main xian city gates are:
- East Gate (Chang An)
- West Gate (An Ding)
- North Gate (An Yuan)
- South Gate (Yong Ning)
The three towers for each gate provides an extra layer
of defense. The outermost tower is used for raising and
lowering the bridge; another tower houses archers; the inner
tower is the actual entrance gate to Xian city.