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Xian City Wall in China

History of Xian City Wall & Gate

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

xian city wall & gate

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 base.

xian city wall & gate

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.

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