Xi’an City Wall – Tickets, Opening Hours, Highlights, and Tips

xi'an city wall

The Xi’an City Wall (西安城墙, Xi’an Fortification) is China’s largest and best-preserved ancient city wall, located in the heart of Xi’an, Shaanxi Province. Rising 12 meters in height, the wall has a top width of 12-14 meters and a base width of 15-18 meters, spanning a length of 13.74 kilometers. It was initially constructed in 1370 and completed in 1378, built upon the foundations of the Imperial City during the Sui and Tang Dynasties.

Within the city wall is an area commonly referred to as the “Ancient City.” There are four main city gates: Changle Gate (East Gate), Yongning Gate (South Gate), Anding Gate (West Gate), and Anyuan Gate (North Gate), which were originally part of the ancient city wall. Over the years, to facilitate access to the Ancient City, additional gates have been opened, bringing the total number of gates to 18.

The Xi’an City Wall is a monumental fortification system that includes defensive features such as moats, drawbridges, sluice gates, watchtowers, battlements, corner towers, enemy towers, and parapets. At each corner of the wall, there is a corner tower, and outside the wall lies a moat. The outer side of the wall is fortified with crenellations, also known as battlements, totaling 5984 in number, with crenels for shooting arrows and keeping watch. On the inner side, there is a shorter wall called a parapet, or “female wall,” without crenels, designed to prevent soldiers from falling while patrolling.

Every 120 meters along the wall, there is an enemy tower projecting outward beyond the wall’s surface, specifically designed to shoot down climbing attackers. The distance between these enemy towers is half the effective range of a bow and arrow, making it easier to target besieging enemies from the sides. In total, there are 98 enemy towers on the wall, each equipped with a garrisoned enemy house atop.

Table of Contents

Basic Information

Estimated Length of Tour1-2 hours
Ticket PriceAdult: 54 RMB
Children between 1.2 and 1.4 meters and students enjoy a half-price discount.
Senior citizens above 65 years old and children below 1.2 meters or 6 years old: free of charge
Notice: If you book a ticket online, you can only enter from Yongning Gate, i.e., the south gate of the city wall
Opening HoursSouth Gate: 8.00 – 22.00; Other gates close at 18.00
Telephone Number029-87272792

Location and Transportation

There are eight entrances to the Xi’an City Wall, including Changle Gate (East Gate), Yong Ning Gate (South Gate), Anding Gate (West Gate), Anyuan Gate (North Gate), Hanguang Gate, Wenchang Gate, Heping Gate, and Shangde Gate. But most tourists would choose to ascend to the wall through the South Gate.

To the East Gate

  • Bus: Take bus No. 22, 29, 33, 45, 139, 188, 218, 235, 263, 527, or 709 and get off at Dongmenwai Stop (Outside the East Gate)
  • Subway: Take subway line 6, get off at Changle Gate, and walk 250 meters to reach the east gate

To the South Gate

  • Bus: Take bus No. 6, 11, 12, 16, 23, 26, 29, 31, 35, 40, 46, 184, 187, 193, 203, 204, 208, 215, 216, 221, 222, 258, 311, 402, 512, 600, 603, 605, 608, 609, 616, 701, or 800 and get off at Nanmenwai Stop (Outside the South Gate)
  • Subway: Take subway line 2, get off at Yongning Gate Sation, and walk 50 meters to the north to reach the south gate.

To the West Gate

  • Bus: Take bus No. 4, 15, 23, 31, 43, 45, 201, 215, 221, 222, 252, 300, 407, 611, 612, or 622, get off at Ximenli Stop (Inside the West Gate), walk about 50 meters to the west to reach the west gate.
  • Subway: Take subway line 6, get off at Anding Gate Sation, and walk about 100 meters to the east to reach the gate.

To the north Gate

  • Bus: Take bus No. 6, 104, 138, 206, 228, 229, 266, or 608, get off at Beimenwai Stop (Outside the North Gate), and walk about 100 meters to the south to reach the north gate.
  • Subway: Take subway line 2, get off at Anyuan Gate, and walk about 500 meters to the south to reach the north gate.

Highlights of Xi’an City Wall

The Gates of the Xi’an City Wall

North gate of the Xi'an City Wall

One of the most striking features of the city wall is its four grand gates, which are located at each of the cardinal directions: the North Gate, South Gate, East Gate, and West Gate.

The North Gate, also known as Beimen or Anyuan Gate, is the largest and most magnificent of the four gates. Its tower stands 40 meters tall and is traditionally used by emperors to enter and exit the city. Beimen is also the gateway to Xi’an’s Muslim Quarter, which is known for its bustling markets and delicious food.

South gate of the Xi'an City Wall

The South Gate, or Yongning Gate, is the most well-known and popular of the four gates, with its elegant and picturesque tower being one of the most photographed landmarks in Xi’an. The tower is a three-story wooden structure that is intricately decorated with beautiful carvings and paintings. South Gate is also the gateway to the city’s bustling downtown area and is pretty close to Shuyuanmen Street, a famous cultural and historical street, and the Stele Forest Musuem that houses over 3,000 stone tablets and sculptures.

East gate of the Xi'an City Wall

The East Gate, also known as Changle Gate, is the smallest of the four gates, with a tower that is only two stories tall. However, it is still a beautiful and well-preserved structure that offers stunning views of the city from the top. The gate is also the starting point of the Xi’an City Wall Marathon, a popular annual event that attracts runners from all over the world, and is adjescent to Yongxingfang, a place to showcase the ancient city’s historical heritage.

west gate of the Xi'an City Wall

The West Gate, or Anding Gate, is the only gate that faces the direction of the Silk Road, a famous trade route that connected China with the Middle East and Europe. It is also the closest gate to the Xi’an railway station, making it a convenient point of entry for many visitors to the city. The gate is a popular spot for watching the sunset over the city, and there are many nearby parks and gardens where visitors can relax and enjoy the scenery.

Xi’an City Wall Biking

Xi'an City Wall Biking

Bicycling on the Xi’an City Wall is a must-do activity for anyone visiting Xi’an. The wall offers a perfect path for cycling enthusiasts, with stunning views of the city from above. With a total length of 13.7 kilometers, visitors can easily ride the entire length of the wall, with stops at each of the four gates to admire their beauty and historical significance.

You can rent a bike at the South Gate (8.00 -22.00), West Gate, East Gate, North Gate, and Hanguang Gate (8.00 -19.00). The fare is 45 yuan for 3 hours, and you need to pay a deposit of 100 yuan. You can return the bike to any rental place instead of going back to where you rented it.

Watch Towers on the City Wall

Watch Towers on the City Wall

The watch towers on Xi’an city wall are an integral part of the ancient fortification system that once protected the city. Built during the Ming dynasty, these towers were strategically placed at intervals along the 14-kilometer wall and provided a vantage point for soldiers to keep watch for any potential threats.

There are a total of 98 watch towers on the wall, each with a unique architectural style and design. Some of the towers have sloping roofs, while others have flat roofs with battlements. Many of the towers are also adorned with beautiful carvings and inscriptions that depict various scenes from Chinese mythology and history.

Tunnels in Xi’an City Wall

Tunnels in Xi'an City Wall

The tunnels in Xi’an city wall are a fascinating feature that adds to the historical significance of the wall. These tunnels were built during the Ming dynasty to provide an efficient means of transportation and communication for soldiers stationed on the wall.

The tunnels are located at the base of the wall and run for several kilometers. They were used by soldiers to move quickly and discreetly from one section of the wall to another, as well as to store weapons, food, and supplies.

Vlog about Xi’an City Wall

Useful Tips Summarzied from Rivews

Festivals: The south gate of the city wall will be decorated with lights and lanterns during festivals, which make it even more gorgeous. But this also means the crowd. You had better weigh the pros and cons when visiting the wall during these times.

Bike for couples: Apart from the normal bike, there are also bikes for couples on the wall. The price is 90 yuan for 3 hours.

Entrances: Although you can ascend to the wall from 8 entrances, the south gate has the most well-established facilities and wonderful views. So, I highly recommend you choose this entrance.

Extra charge for hiring a bike: If you do not return the bike in 3 hours, they will charge you an extra fare, which is 5 yuan every 10 minutes for the single bike and 10 yuan every 10 minutes for the couple. But normally, it only takes you two hours to finish the tour.

Interesting Fact about Xi’an City Wall

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