The city wall surrounding Xian is one of the largest ancient military defensive systems in the world and the most complete surviving city wall in China. It has also been listed by the Chinese government as a National Protected Cultural Relic.
It was originally built in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and was reconstructed and strengthened in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) by Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang. Today, the wall stands 40 feet (12 m) tall and stretches a length of 8.5 miles (13.7 km), with a deep moat surrounding the perimeter. Every 400 feet (120 m) there are fortifications extending from the main wall, built to deter enemies climbing up the wall. Complicated gate structures were constructed within the wall, as they were the most vulnerable parts of the structure.
The Xian City wall also includes four gates named Changle (eternal joy) in the east, Anding (harmony peace) in the west, Yongning (eternal peace) in the south, and Anyuan (forever harmony) in the north. Important Provincial Governmental ceremonies are often held at the south gate, as it is the most beautiful and intricately decorated. In recent years, a circular park has been built around the wall and moat, with lush trees and flora accenting the classical Chinese architecture of the wall.