Ancient City Wall

Xi’an ancient city wall includes a series of military facilities such as the moat, drawbridge, gate building, watch towers, battlements, which constitute a complete military defense system. Exploring Xi’an ancient city wall, you will have a specific understanding of ancient warfare, urban construction and architectural art.

The ancient city wall is located in central Xi’an and it has four gates. It was a traditional defense installation in cities of ancient China. It was built on the basis of the Tang City Wall and it divides Xi’an into inner city and outer city. For defense, the wall is so thick that soldiers can exercise and the cart can run on it. As an ancient capital for thousands of years, Xi’an city wall has been rebuilt in many dynasties. The existing wall was built during the period of 1374-1378, and it is China’s most complete ancient city wall.

Ancient city wall

Xi’an city wall is 12 meters high, 12-14 meters wide at the top and 15-18 meters wide at the bottom. The distance between two neighboring resisting towers is 120 meters. It is designed to shoot climbing enemies. The effective range of an arrow is above 60 meters, so soldiers can shot enemies from the side. There are 98 resisting towers, with watch towers on it.
In ancient times, the gate is the only means to enter the city, so it is the focus for the feudal rulers to built defense systems at the gate. The four gates have their city towers, watch towers and gate towers respectively. The gate tower is at the outer layer, for lifting drawbridge. Square windows is located before and beside the watchtower, used for shooting. The city wall is at the inner layer. It is the city’s main entrance. Between the watch tower and the city tower, there is a place of stationing troops, which is called urn city. There are 11 tunnels in the urn city for the ups and downs of horses. At the corner of the wall, there stand 4 platforms which protrude the corner. Corner towers are built on them to show the important role they play in the war.
At the outer layer of the wall, there are 5984 forts, for archery and lookout. The wall in the inner layer is called parapet wall, to prevent soldiers from falling down.
The original city wall is built by loess, with a mixture of soil, lime and glutinous rice juice. Then, bricks are added to the outer and the top of the wall. At the top of the wall, there is a sink every 40-60 meters for drainage, which plays a very important role in wall protection. The wall is surrounded by wide and deep moat, with drawbridges ups and downs on the opposite of the gates. When drawbridges raise, the path to the outer city will be cut.

Ancient city wall1

The Gates
At present, you can board the wall from the following 8 gates: the East Gate (Changle gate), the South Gate (Yongning gate), the West Gate (Anding Gate), the North Gate (Anyuan Gate), Hanguang Gate, Wenchang Gate, Heping Gate or Sangde Gate. Visitors can board from the nearest gate, although visitors usually board from the South Gate.

Ancient city wall2

Travelling on the City Wall
There are 3 ways to travel on the wall: walk a short distance, then descend from another gate; rent a bike, enjoying the whole journey by bike; take a battery car. The first one is free, the second one takes CNY45, and the third one needs CNY 80.

Admission Fee: CNY 54
CNY 27 for children between 1.2 and 1.4 meters in height; free for children under 1.2 meters.
Opening Hours: South Gate: 8:00-22:00
East/North/West Gate, Wenchang Gate, Heping Gate, Shangde Gate:
8:00-19:00 (May 1-October 31); 8:00-18:00 (November 1-April 30)
Hanguang Gate: 8:00-17:30
Performance at the South Gate City Wall Gate Opening Ceremony (South Gate Square): 9:00
Living Statue Performance: 10:45, 19:45
Warrior Parade Performance (Barbican): 11:00, 11:40, 16:20, 16:50, 18:00
Relieving Guard Ceremony: 09:30, 15:30, 18:40
War Drum and Military Formation: 10:30, 19:30
Military Formation Performance: 17:30
Recommended Time for a Visit: 3.5 hours for a whole circle