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Xian’s Ancient City Wall is the most complete ancient city wall in China and is one of the largest ancient defensive works in the world. Originally built in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), the wall was added onto and rebuilt in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and it is this remodel which is visible today.

The ancient wall is 12 meters high and averages 13 meters wide at the top and 50 to 60 meters wide at the base. The wall has 98 ramparts for soldiers to fire down on anyone trying to climb the wall. The space between each rampart was measured to that it is within firing range of each rampart. The wall has 5,948 crenellations which can protect soldiers firing down into the enemy. There are four gates in the wall, on the four cardinal directions. Each of the four gates has three gate towers used for defense of the city. They were designed because the gates were the weakest point in the wall defense system.

The outermost gate is called Zhalou. This gate was used to raise and lower a suspension bridge. Jianlou, the middle gate was used as a defensive position and the high tower had many small openings to fire arrows down on attackers who made it through the outermost gate. The Zhenglou gate is the third gate and the main entrance to the city. It is in line with the wall. The area between Jianlou and Zhenglou was where soldiers would be positioned to attack anyone who got through the first two gates. From this area, are two sloping passages which lead to the top of the city wall and horses and troops could climb this to gain entrance to the top of the city wall. The entire city wall is surrounded by a deep moat surrounding the entire wall and the area between it and the wall has been landscaped into a beautiful park.