Xi'an City Walls

Relish the Chinese style of the elegant moat, towers and historic walls of one of the world’s largest military defence systems.

Xi’an City Walls are among the oldest and best-preserved municipality fortifications in China. Dating back to the Ming Dynasty of the 14th century, the walls enclose an area of 8,960 acres (3,625 hectares). See the gates at night, when their towers and bridges are illuminated.

Make your way to the outskirts of the city center to stroll alongside the wall, which has a circumference of 8.5 miles (13.7 kilometers). The wall has a wide base with paths on the top. Walk for miles along the wall for varying views of the Xi’an cityscape.

Note the ramparts that jut out every 394 feet (120 meters). The distance between each of these 98 watchtowers was calculated to ensure soldiers could target enemies with an arrow shot from either side. See some of the 5,948 small pockets on the outside of the wall that served as outlook posts for the soldiers.

Gaze up at the magnificent structure that has a height of 39 feet (12 meters). Admire its robust and preserved state, as one of the most complete examples of city walls in the country. Enjoy the serene ambiance at some of the calmer parts, where a moat surrounds the walls.

Visit the four main gates, with Chinese names meaning Eternal Joy, Harmony Peace, Forever Harmony and Eternal Peace. The latter is the southern gate and is the most ornate. Marvel at its towers and the bridge that crosses the moat. Relax in the adjoining Xi’an Huancheng Park.

Hear about the intriguing history behind the construction of the wall. It is said that Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang built the walls based on advice from a local hermit. He enlarged and reinforced pre-existing fortifications from the Tang Dynasty several centuries earlier.

Climb along the structure, which remains open year-round, for free. Xi’an City Walls surround the center of the city of Xi’an. The southern gate is near the Bell Tower and Kaiyuan Shopping Mall.

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