This is a culture post people. I am seeking to educate those lucky enough not to get down to Xi’an and experience the City Wall – the most complete city wall that has survived in China, as well being one of the largest ancient military defensive systems in the world.
When Zhu Yuanzhang, the first Emperor of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), captured Huizhou, a hermit named Zhu Sheng admonished him that he should ‘built high walls, store abundant food supplies and take time to be an Emperor,’ so that he could fortify the city and unify the other states. After the establishment of the Ming dynasty, Zhu Yuanzhang followed his advice and began to enlarge the wall built initially during the old Tang Dynasty (618 – 907), forming today’s scale of Xian City Wall.
After the extension, the wall now stands 12 meters (40 feet) tall, 12-14 meters (40-46 feet) wide at the top and 15-18 meters (50-60 feet) thick at the bottom. It covers 13.7 kilometers (8.5 miles) in length with a deep moat surrounding it. Every 120 meters, there is a rampart which extends out from the main wall. All together, there are 98 ramparts, which were built to defend against the enemy climbing up. Each rampart has a sentry building, in which the soldiers could protect the entire wall without exposing themselves to the enemy. Besides, the distance between every two ramparts is just within the range of an arrow shot from either side, so that they could shoot the enemy, who wanted to attack the city, from the side. On the outer side of the city wall, there are 5,948 crenellations, namely battlements. The soldiers can outlook and shoot at the enemy. On the inner side, parapets were built to protect the soldiers from falling off.
I took a good half day and wandered, not biked like the locals do, from the North entrance to the South, just over 4 miles, in the beeling sun and I feel all the better for it. I would not say there was anything specific to see. Every section there is a plaque that tells you about what you are seeing inside the walls and you can see what’s going on in the many parks outside the walls.
A very slow donder I would say that was soooo peaceful and leisurely, if I was fit enough, I could have easily taken 4 hours to wander all the way around. Strangely, I was listening to an audio book while taking my time – The restaurant at the end of the Universe (Douglas Adams), talked about world apart.
It amuses me somewhat, the looks I get while i’m sauntering along. Some are just people puzzled at how I look and having not seen a white face and some have a right good giggle, looking up and down my significant frame and big red face from the sun. What do I care, ken!