Xian's Ancient City Wall

Xian's Ancient City Wall

Although walls have surrounded the old city of Xian (and Chang’an before it) since the Sui Dynasty (581-617), the one that stands today was constructed in 1370 by Hongwu Emperor of the Ming Dynasty. Today it is the oldest, the largest and best preserved city wall and fortification in the whole of China, thanks to the fact that it was well-maintained throughout the Ming and Qing Dynasties. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with three other city walls – Nanjing, Xingcheng and Jingzhou.

Enclosing 36 square kilometres of city, the wall is built in the Chinese rampart architectural style, with 98 ramparts placed along its length. At 12 metres tall and 18 metres wide at the bottom, the city wall is one of the Ming Dynasty’s greatest architectural feats. The top of the wall is a great place to get a bird’s eye view of the city – you can even stroll or cycle the whole perimeter.

Popular Tours Visiting Xian's Ancient City Wall

holiday duration 14 Days from
holiday price 2,290pp

Combining the contrasting urban splendour of Shanghai, Beijing and Xian with the majestic sights of the Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors and extraordinary landscapes of the Li River, this tour showcases China’s most glorious highlights.

holiday duration 26 Days from
holiday price 3,590pp

This wide-ranging tour has China’s top destinations covered, with time to soak up the sights. Whether you are looking for history, character and culture, the modern and marvellous, or a straight-up combination of the two, then this is the itinerary for you.

holiday duration 9 Days from
holiday price 1,890pp

Journey from the imperial treasures of Beijing through atmospheric Xian with its enigmatic legions of Terracotta Warriors to reach the charming city of Chengdu, where you will meet its most famous residents – the captivating Giant Pandas.

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Xian's Ancient City Wall Map

Six Facts About Xian's Ancient City Walls

The Xian wall is 14 kilometres in length

The original wall was built of rammed earth with quick lime and glutinous rice extract added to it – it was later enclosed in bricks

The South Gate into the city is the oldest, first built in 582AD by the Sui Dynasty

Each corner of the wall has a watch tower – three of them are square whilst the other is round

The Hongwu Emperor, who constructed the wall, was purportedly told that the city walls should be higher by a hermit

Every year there is an international marathon that takes place around the walls – the runners must complete three laps


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