Xian City Wall

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Xian City Wall

Xi'an City Wall was built up in the years from 1370 to 1378 under the reign of HongWu of Ming Dynasty. It was ordered by the Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang after he had captured Huizhou. Originally, it is a hermit named Zhu Sheng convinced him that he should "built high walls, store abundant food supplies and take time to be an Emperor", so that he could strength the city and speed up in unifying other states. Firmly believed the hermit's advice, he immediately started to enlarge the existing wall built during the Old Tang Dynasty after his ascendance to the throne. From that time on, the presentation of today's Xi'an City Wall had formed gradually.

Located in the central area of Xi'an city, the Xi'an City Wall built in Ming Dynasty stands 12 meters high. It is 12- 14 meters across the top, 15-18 meters thick at bottom and 13.7 kilometers long in an oblong shape.
It is divided into several important parts such as the rampart, the gate tower, the suspend bridge, the watchtower, the moat and so on. The Ming Dynasty City Wall formed a complex and well-organized system of defense. Each rampart has a watchtower, in which the soldiers could protect the entire wall without exposing themselves to the enemy. Besides, the distance between every two ramparts is just within the range of an arrow shot from either side, so that they could shoot the enemy, who wanted to attack the city, from the side. On the outer side of the city wall, there are 5948 crenellations, namely battlements. The soldiers can outlook and shoot at the enemy. On the inner side, parapets were built to protect the soldiers from falling off.
Since the ancient weapons did not have the power to break through a wall and the only way for an enemy to enter the city was by attacking the gate of the city wall. This is why complicated gate structures were built within the wall. In Xian, the city wall includes four gates and they are respectively named as Changle (meaning eternal joy) in the east, Anding (harmony peace) in the west, Yongning (eternal peace) in the south and Anyuan (forever harmony) in the north. The south gate, Yongning, is the most beautifully decorated one.
There are four city gates, and to each of them are three tower entrances: sluice tower, embrasures watchtower and the main tower and in between are enceinte. There are 98 watching enemy platforms between the watchtowers and the city gates, protruding over the city wall, and on the platform the towers for watching the enemy are built, which is not only convenient for watching the enemy, but also to shoot them with bows and arrows from three sides and firing wooden cannon stones by taking the advantages between the position like two sides of a horse face and the city wall, inflicting casualties on the attacking enemy. There are 5984 crenels served as lookout posts, firing at the enemy and shield of protection. They formed a close engineering system of defense.

Status Today
The City Wall treated as a great symbol of significance of the famous historic cultural city of Xian. One of the features of the Xian Wall lies in the fact that it has been the most complete city wall that has survived in China, as well being one of the largest ancient military defensive systems in the world.
The city wall itself is a true display of the ability and wisdom of the working people in ancient times. It provides invaluable and substantial material for the study of the history, military science, and architecture of the Ming Dynasty.
At present, after being repaired and protection, the Xi'an City Wall displays a three-dimensional distribution with the city wall, city moats, forest belt and city ring-routes combined into four-in-one grandeur in perfect harmony, each shining more brilliantly in the other.


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