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A wall with a great view

By Ma Lie (

08:49, April 28, 2012

The best way to tour Xi'an's city walls is on two wheels.

The Xi'an City Wall Scenic Area is in the central part of Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi province.

The city walls have a total length of 13.74 km and were built during the early years of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), though there were earlier walls built during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD).

The walls are thicker than they are tall, which gives them great defensive solidity.

The defensive wall system has a number of military aspects, including a moat, drawbridges, gateways, watchtowers and turrets.

Since 1983, the governments of Shaanxi province and Xi'an municipality have carried out large-scale renovations of the city's walls, including the East Gate, North Gate Watchtower and South Gate buildings and drawbridges.

Outside the city walls is a park, surrounded by a moat; while inside the city walls are old-style streets and plenty of places to buy souvenirs and find board and lodging.

Recommended cycling route: Xi'an City Wall Scenic Area

Estimated duration: one hour

Best season for cycling: spring and autumn

Bicycle rental: Bicycles are available at all four wall gates from 8 am to 9:30 pm.

The rental fee for a bike is 40 yuan ($6.35) for 100 minutes. For a double-seat bike, it is 60 yuan and will rise to 80 yuan in May when they are replaced with new ones.

Reminder: The wall route is a little bumpy and you should take care.


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