The City Wall of Xi'an is just
at the center of Xi'an municipality, in a rectangular
shape and with the length from east to west a
little longer than that from south to north. The
perimeter of the city wall is 11.9 kilometers,
with four gates constructed in the four directions
of east, south, west and north. The construction
system of the city gates is in a four-rampart
and 12-gate style. The Northern City Gate is called
Anyuan Gate, the Southern City Gate is called
Yong'an Gate, the West City Gate is called Anding
Gate, and the East City Gate is called Changle
Gate. It was rebuilt and extended on the base
of the original Tang Dynasty Palace Wall from
the seventh year to the eleventh year of Hongwu
in Ming Dynasty (from 1374 to 1378 AD). It has
a history of 600 years up to now and it is also
the most large, solid and complete city wall which
has survived through the long history in China.
Xi'an is called Chang'an in Chinese
history. Chang'an, as an ancient organizational
capital city, has a history of over 3,000 (called
Haojing in Zhou Dynasty, Xianyang in Qin Dynasty
and Chang'an after Han Dynasty up to the time
before the Ming Dynasty). It was the Tang Empire
that set its capital at the present site of Xi'an,
with a perimeter of 35 kilometers long city wall.
Such a large-scale city wall construction is rarely
found in the world history. Therefore, it is regarded
as one of the four ancient capital cities together
with the Italian city "Rome", "Athens"
of Greece and "Cairo" of Egypt. The
Tang City Wall was ruined in a war at the beginning
of the 10th century AD. At the end of Tang Dynasty,
in the first year of Tian You Period (904 AD),
the city governor Hanjian of the security army
which settled in Chang'an rebuilt the city wall
on the base of the inner city wall of the Tang
Dynasty Imperial Palace of the Tang Chang'an city.
This is the original shape of the present city
wall. In the second year of Hong Wu in the Ming
Dynasty, the founder of Ming Dynasty Zhu Yuanzhang
occupied "Fengyuanlu" (the new city
rebuilt by Hanjian) and changde the name of "Fengyuanlu"
into "Chang'an Fu", hence the name "Chang'an"
has been used ever since. Meanwhile, he nominated
his second son Zhushuang as "King Qin"
to govern this area, and ordered an inner city
"King Qin's Palace" ("New city"
where the Shaanxi Provincial government is now
located) built inside the city of Xi'an. In the
seventh year of Hongwu Period (1370 AD), Zhushuang
started to widen and make higher the city wall
rebuilt by Hanjian, and extended the northern
city wall and the eastern city wall outwards in
a degree of one-third, thus formed the present
scale of the city wall.
The city wall of Xi'an is 12 meters
high, 15 meters wide on the top and 18 meters
at the bottom, with battlements of 1.65 meters
high. Laid on the top are three layers of bricks,
which make it convenient for drainage. In the
four directions, there is a city gate tower and
arrow tower each. Each city gate tower has 3 ramparts
and 3 entrances, which make up 4 inner cities
(or compounds). In front of each inner city (or
compounds), there is a Zhalou (rampart with a
suspense bridge. The three ramparts standing in
a line, with upturned eaves up into the sky, make
up a magnificent scene. The surrounding moat just
outside the city wall makes it imregnable.
Xi'an Travel Attractions
of Stone Steles