After our brief stop in the Muslim Quarter we went to the Xi'an city wall. Originally built around 800 A.D. the wall has since grown and been added to over time with the last expansion completed in 1781. The wall stands about 40 feet high and is 40-45 feet wide at the top. The length runs about 8.5 miles and makes it one of the largest military defense systems in the world.
The most penetrable area of a wall is the gate, so only four gates were established. Each was built with two large guard towers with a large open square between them. If attackers made it through the outer gate, they would become trapped between the guard towers in the courtyard.
Originally the wall was built using rice gluten and dirt. During a restoration in the 1500's bricks were added to fortify the wall. Each brick was stamped with the creator's name. Any bricks that failed inspection would mean punishment up to death of the brick maker.
What is the best way to see the entire city wall? By bicycle! We rented bicycles and spent an hour meandering around the wall. It was a nice day and there weren't too many people.
|A bumpy ride|
There are many exhibits along the way to stop and read more about the wall and its history. It was a great ride, albeit very bumpy.