Xi’an’s second best known treasure, after the Terra Cotta Warriors, is its intact city wall. Most of the structure dates to the Ming dynasty, but stretches of its foundations were part of the great Tang dynasty (618-907) fortification. The golden period of the Tang based its capital here, named Chang’an (长安). After the end of the empire, the capital later moved to Beijing, and the first Ming emperor built Xi’an’s current walls in the late 14th century.
The city walls that remain today measure about 2.8 miles east to west by 1.6 miles north to south. It is popular to walk or ride bikes along the top of the wall or the whole perimeter. Pass through one of the majestic entry gates and gaze over dozens of watch towers, and you will have no doubt you are in an imperial city.
In China Tea Leaves 西安 Xi’an we’ll explore the city wall and unique landmarks that still exist inside. Check it out on January 30!