Xi'an City Wall 西安城墙

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Xi'an City Wall

This will be the first attraction that you are greeted with when you go to Xi’an. The ancient city wall, located just outside the railway station, divides the inner city from the outer city. It is tall, thick and long with two main entrances at the South and North Gates. It was first built during the 14th century under the reign of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang of the Ming dynasty. Before the emperor established the Ming dynasty and became emperor, he had captured Huizhou. Zhu Sheng, a hermit, warned him to build high walls and wait before declaring himself emperor which is exactly with he did. He became emperor only after he unified the country and had the large wall built so that "out of all the mountains and rivers in the world, the central Qin is the most strongly fortified and strategically impregnable." 
The city wall of Xi'an is based off of old Tang Dynasty architecture and measures 12-14 meters across the top, 15-18 meters thick at bottom and 13.7 kilometers in length. There are towers every 120 meters that juts out from the wall but is the same height as the wall. They were built to allow soldiers to see enemies who might be climbing the walls. Distance between each tower is just within shooting range for arrows from either side. There are a total of 98 such towers on the wall, 
Since the city gates are the only way to get in and out of town, they were strategic points that needed to be well-defended. For Xi’an, there were four gates, one in each direction. Each gate has three fate towers with the main tower called Zhenglou. Zhalou is the tower with the suspension bridge and Jianlou is the narrow one in the middle. It’s front and sides have windows from which to shoot arrows from. The Zhenglou tower is the main entrance into the city and is connected to Jianlou by tunnels, called Wengcheng. 
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. From here, there are gradual steps for horses to walk through to get to the top of the wall. There are all together 11 horse passages around the city and a watch tower located on each of the four corners of the wall. The one at the southwestern corner is round while the other three are square. The watch towers are taller than the wall and juts out more than the other towers along the wall. This reflects the strategic importance of the corners in war times.  The first city wall was built of layers and layers of earth mixed with glutinous rice extract which made the wall extremely strong and firm. Later, the wall was covered in bricks. On one part of the wall, there is a brick water trough every 40-60 meters used for drainage. They have helped keep the wall in good shape. A moat, wide and deep, that runs around the city. In order to get in or out of the city, you would have to walk through the suspension bridges that are usually raised to protect the city. 
Admission Fee: CNY 40
Opening Hours: 08:00 to 19:00 (Spring and Summer)               
                            08:30 to 17:00 (Fall and Winter)
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Last Updated ( Friday, 19 June 2009 16:41 )  

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