The history of Xi’an City Wall

history of xi'an city wall

The Xi’an City Wall, also known as the “Chang’an” (meaning “Eternal Peace”) in ancient times, is one of the oldest, largest and best preserved city walls in China, dating back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD).

The construction of the Xi’an City Wall began in 1370 AD during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD) and was completed in 1378 AD. The wall was built on the foundations of an earlier Tang Dynasty wall, which had been built in the 7th century to protect the city from invaders.

The Xi’an City Wall is rectangular in shape, with a perimeter of about 14 kilometers, enclosing an area of around 14 square kilometers. It is about 12 meters high, 15-18 meters wide at the base, and 13.7 kilometers long. The wall is made of brick and tamped earth, and has a moat surrounding it.

The wall has four main gates, each facing one of the cardinal directions: Changle Gate to the east, Anding Gate to the west, Yongning Gate to the south, and Anyuan Gate to the north. There are also four smaller gates and a number of watchtowers along the wall.

Over the centuries, the Xi’an City Wall has undergone several restorations and repairs. During the Ming Dynasty, the wall was expanded and reinforced with additional gates and watchtowers. In the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912), the wall was used as a military defense fortification.

In 1981, the Xi’an City Wall was designated as a National Cultural Relic, and in 1987, it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It remains a significant part of Xi’an’s history and an enduring example of China’s ancient architecture and city planning.

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