XI'AN CITY WALL

Xi'an City Wall

Xi'an, China

Standing at 40 feet high and almost 45 feet wide, the wall occupies 14 kms of land close to downtown Xi’an. It is hailed as the best yet preserved of all the local city walls of China and like the rest, was built as a military defense system against foreign invaders. It garners a lot of attention from tourists.

All four gates have convenient access. Getting off at Yongningmen station of subway line 2 will provide access to the southern gate (the elaborate and magnificent main entrance) while Anyuanmen Station will bring you closer to the northern gate. However, buses will go to all entry gates, of which there are 8 in total. Wear comfortable shoes as the wall is uneven and bumpy at places, keep hydrated and sun-screen protected. Be aware that this activity is not wheelchair accessible as there are stairs going up and down. Arrive early morning or late in the evenings during summers for a comfortable stroll.

Entry ticket for elders’ costs RMB54 but keep in mind that this is valid only for one-time entry (not for the day) and if you leave you won’t be allowed back till you buy another ticket. For kids between 3.9 - 4.6 feet the price is RMB27, while kids under 3.9 feet go free. The is open from 08:00, however, closing times differ. In summer it is 19:00, in winters, 18:00, though the South gate remains accessible till midnight. Crossing inside to the inner city is free of cost though.

Once on the wall, tourists like to take the pleasure of going around by foot, bike or battery car. These are available at the top for a reasonable charge and make the whole experience even more worthwhile. However, if you don’t want a too demanding activity, it is recommended you take a bike for a quarter of the way and then walk the rest of the way around the rectangular structure. You get the best of both worlds, while enjoying the view on either side of the wall i.e. ancient Xi’an contained inside and the more modern version with western adverts and tall buildings outside. The wall itself has some interesting structures topside. There are the flanking towers (98 in total) built for the defending military of the city at every few paces, with a sentry built above them. On each corner, there is also a watchtower. Down below you can see the moat surrounding the ancient city walls, another defense measure.

But the wall isn’t just a huge defense barrier anymore. It is a celebrated piece of history that citizens are proud of and love to spend time around. Accordingly, you can see the locals holding exercise routines and enjoying the food fare offered along its expanse. Many events are also held here such as the kite festival or the international marathon. In fact, every day there are performances ranging from Warriors changing the Guard ceremony to Gate opening that are a treat to all who visit here.

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